Sustainability: A Critical Focus


Sustainability has grown into a critical focus across the globe in recent years, becoming a buzzword within most industries. In a landscape where sustainability has become a global priority, the urgent need to adopt eco-friendly practices is now more important than ever.

At Astley, we take pride in our eco-friendly practices and ensure that as a UK manufacturer, we are conscious of our environmental impact. Having started our Net Zero journey in 2022, we are dedicated to continually improving our processes and playing our part in the global efforts to mitigate the impacts of man-made climate change.

It’s important to note the difference between Net Zero and Carbon Neutrality, having seen that the two terms are often misconstrued. While carbon neutrality concentrates solely on greenhouse gas removals in the form of purchased offsets to balance the emissions produced, Net-zero comprises a comprehensive approach of 90% absolute greenhouse gas emission reduction and offsetting the remaining 10% of emissions at the net-zero date and onwards.

As a manufacturer, we aim to reach our Net Zero target by 2040.

Having also celebrated Plastic Free July last month, we wanted to highlight the importance of introducing high-quality sustainable substrates into the signage industry, as well as remaining vigilant of waste and energy use.

So, what steps have we taken?

Astley is always striving to implement sustainable practices at every step of our production process – from the procurement process through to final installation. We are dedicated to introducing high-quality sustainable substrates, creating less waste, and lowering our carbon footprint - and we always encourage our staff to consciously uptake any proactive initiatives.

Material Selection

Relying on materials such as vinyl, plastics, and other non-recyclable materials can lead to significant environmental impacts. By embracing sustainability practices, we can help to minimise these adverse effects and reduce the industry’s ecological footprint.

Astley is always searching the market for new sustainable alternatives, without compromising quality or creativity. From eco-friendly acrylics and recycled aluminium to an array of card-based materials, we have established a variety of sustainable materials that act as quality alternatives to virgin materials.

Considering the growing problem of plastic pollution (with the UK using about 5 million tonnes of plastic each year), we are always making conscious decisions to lessen our plastic consumption, having introduced PVC-free vinyls and plastic-free foam PVC to our substrate selection. Not only is it better for the environment, but it is also the more cost-effective choice in the long run.

We also have an array of card-based materials that could be used in place of plastics, including Ultraboard, Xanita, and Libra Display Board.

Recycling & Waste Reduction

It is estimated that more than 80% of non-recyclable signage ends up in landfill. By adopting sustainable practices, signage companies can reduce waste as well as conserve resources. Astley is proud to be a zero-to-waste-to-landfill supplier, whereby we are committed to diverting all waste from landfill disposal by recycling, reusing, and recovering energy from leftover materials.

A great example of this is our new creative meeting room at our site in Kettering, which was produced from a variety of recycled offcuts and in-house surplus materials. Boasting a contemporary peg board feature wall and a completely recycled custom table, this room is a testament to Astley’s commitment to sustainability.

Renewable Energy

We are also proud to work with solar energy, having recently supported Central Co-op with the first solar-powered totem of their estate.

This is a rapidly developing market, with new media and methodologies introduced daily, and allows the opportunity to achieve high-quality illumination while being cost-effective and adherent to Net Zero ambitions.

ISO 14001

In accordance with our ISO 14001, we work with our suppliers and clients on the sustainability of products. This international standard ensures that we continually monitor and seek to reduce our environmental impact, from our waste management to our resource use and efficiency.

Not only does this certification help to comply with environmental regulations, but it also provides a focus for employees, managers, and suppliers to embed environmental thinking at the heart of business strategy.

We also continue to ensure that the commitments of our supply chain also align with our own environmental efforts. It is vital that we factor sustainability, environmental and social impacts into our procurement process, understanding the potential impact that annual spend has on the environment.

And so...

Ultimately, sustainability is not just a buzzword; it is a responsibility that every industry must shoulder. Sign makers have the potential to pioneer change within the manufacturing industry, by embracing sustainable alternatives, recycling processes, and efficient energy use. Sustainability - rather than a destination - is a journey, and the best we can do is take conscious steps toward making the planet a greener place.

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