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Leeds firm Fenton Packaging Solutions helps manufacturer Silberline reduce its carbon footprint

Dec Connolly Editor

Email business@thebusinessjournal.co.uk

Leeds-based Fenton Packaging Solutions began its cooperation with US-based aluminium effect pigments manufacturer Silberline’s European division three years ago. The challenge was to make the packaging of pigments more sustainable and seek a carbon footprint reduction.

“We had been freighting empty, nestable, stackable, 6-gallon steel pails for our European pigments operations from a manufacturing facility in Ohio, in the United States to our plant in Leven, Scotland, for around 15 years,” says Silberline Operations Director Alan Snaddon.

“We talked to Fenton Packaging Solutions to see if we could create a like-for-like product here in Europe, aiming to reduce the impact of shipping and all its associated costs. Working closely with the Fenton team – and a German manufacturer – we have developed and are now using steel pails which have delivered a CO₂e/TEU saving of over 73%.

“This saving is significant and fully aligns with Silberline’s overall sustainability goals. As a global leader in the aluminium pigment industry, with divisions servicing the automotive, plastics, graphic arts and general industrial industries, we are committed to supporting a balanced environment by seeking sustainable solutions in all that we do.

“Our approach to sustainability extends across the entire company. At a foundational level, we are evolving our technical platforms to increase production capacity and sales of sustainable product solutions, such as waterborne and powder coatings, and products absent of substances of concern. In doing so, we are also proactively identifying and addressing both existing and anticipated regulatory changes to stay ahead of the curve.

“Our commitment to sustainability also extends to a variety of other business processes, including reducing energy and water usage throughout all Silberline facilities. We are also reducing waste generation and VOC emissions and implementing extensive recycling programmes.

“Working with Fenton Packaging Solutions has helped us to find yet another way to deliver on these commitments.”

Rigorous testing

Due to the nature of Silberline’s aluminium effects pigments, the new pails needed to undergo extensive and rigorous validation and testing throughout the logistics chain. This process took around six months and the new packaging proved to be a perfect like-for-like swap for the existing pails.

“As a consultative supplier, we want to help our customers find the most sustainable packaging solutions, says David Wilson, Purchasing and Operations Director of Fenton Packaging Solutions, which is based at the Kinetic 45 development in Newmarket Lane. “As we worked with Silberline, it quickly became clear that we could shorten the supply chain and develop a product which could be sourced in Europe rather than from across the Atlantic, and therefore significantly reducing CO₂e/TEU. While Fenton Packaging Solutions is well known as a stockist, supplier, and distributor of all manner of packaging, this bespoke product is now delivered direct from the manufacturer via a third-party logistics partner, further reducing product-miles.

“To deliver on this project we designed and manufactured tooling which is held at our manufacturer, again emphasising that Fenton Packaging Solutions is not just a stockist and distributor, as we frequently create bespoke products from scratch.

“With all the current supply chain pressures, from raw material pricing and shortages, to rapidly rising energy costs, Silberline has also benefitted from our flexible, unitised pricing policy. We make it easy for our customers by separating each aspect, from product raw material and manufacturing costs, through transport and logistics, to pallets, and customs clearance. This creates open book guaranteed flexibility for us and our clients.”

Part of the Silberline brand identity

“These silver and blue pails are hugely important to Silberline, as they are effectively part of our brand identity,” concludes Alan Snaddon.

“While we set out to create a like-for-like replacement for our original pails, Fenton Packaging Solutions and the manufacturer recommended making small but significant improvements, such as adding two handles, which makes them easier to use and move around.

“Throughout the development, Fenton managed the three-way relationship with us and the manufacturer, which gave huge confidence that we were making the right choice. At every stage, from design to implementation and delivery, we were involved in a three-way conversation which provided reassuring transparency to the whole process. The transition to the new pails has been seamless, and they are already proving popular both in our facility and also with customers”.