A company that implements green, sustainable initiatives within the business has the future of their business, their people, and their community in mind. Brelko Conveyor Products is no exception and has started paving the way within their company to a greener, more sustainable future.

“Implementing green changes within all our departments was a decision that was made with the intention of providing for a better future, to create environmental awareness within our company and to set the business on a path to a more conscious mindset,” explains Kenny Padayachee, MD of Brelko. “Advancing within an industry does not only mean financial growth, but growth on all levels – staff, training and now sustainability.”

Becoming an environmentally conscious company does not happen overnight, and small changes which will later add up to bigger, effective changes, Brelko has begun its green journey by implementing the following current changes:

Manufacturing and Distribution

Within this area of business there are many opportunities to become environmentally conscious, including using recyclable materials, reducing carbon footprint and implementing a paperless environment. All three of these initiatives contribute to a greener, more sustainable company.

Brelko’s manufacturing and distribution department have started making use of recyclable materials and removing non-recyclable plastics form all packaging. These have been replaced with various recyclable materials such as poly-propylene bags, cardboard, or wood. Furthermore, the grade of the waste will also be added to the bags so that they can be properly recycled or discarded.

Brelko have managed to lessen their carbon footprint by streamlining their manufacturing processes and products to help eliminate wastage and storage complexity. Energy inefficiencies such as sandblasting and powder processes have been replaced with a more energy efficient spray booth, while automating processes such as the robotic welder and gluer also uses less energy output. Re-processed water and oils are used in the CNCs.

This department has also started implementing a paperless environment. The physical waybill has been removed and replaced with an EMS system and have started using the cloud as a storage option. Barcode scanners have been introduced into the production process, which will limit and eradicate the use of too much paper, speed up production and increase efficiency. Another implementation of a paperless environment is that eradication of paper brochures and the introduction of USB flash drives holding the same information.

General/Green initiatives

When companies were forced to work remotely or an office schedule was drawn up in 2020, online meetings grew popular due to necessity. However, what this new way of meeting brought to the forefront was how cost effective, time saving and green these types of meetings are. With the desire to reduce their carbon footprint, Brelko has implemented a preference of online meetings over face-to-face meeting, where possible. Due to the nature of the business many clients are positioned on sites in remote areas and therefore the travelling time could take up an entire day for a 30-minute meeting, wasting precious fossil fuels in the process. Online meetings save fuel, time in the office and unnecessary costs.

With drought conditions continuing throughout the country, water saving initiatives are not only a must in every business but every household as well. Brelko has put into place water tanks for storing rainwater to be used later, as well as implemented grey water storage to be used in the gardens and for the washing of pavements and cars. By reusing water, fresh water that is suitable for drinking won’t be wasted on chores where grey water and stored rainwater can be used.

Most companies will have a fair amount of e-waste including computers, laptops, keyboards, screens etc. and it is the duty of the company to discard of these items responsibly without them landing up on a landfill. Recycling of all e-waste is a priority to Brelko – what can be donated is, and what is unusable is sent for destruction and recycling.

To go green, the idea is to reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible as it is through this that a greener future can take place. Brelko has implemented solar panels to provide around 60% of their daily usage, using this renewable energy to keep the business going at a smaller cost to the earth and to their financial bottom line. “If you are not able to install solar panels, a simple act such as changing your light bulbs can reduce the amount of energy you use,” suggests Padayachee. Within the Brelko factories the 150 400W incandescent lights were changed with 150W LED lights which has resulted in less power being used per hour. Sky lights have also been installed to make use of natural light within the factory, saving power.

“Moving towards a more sustainable, greener environment was a natural progression for Brelko taking into consideration past projects and nature conservation initiatives undertaken. These current changes are a start to bigger movement, and soon Brelko will reduce its carbon footprint further and provide towards a greener solution within the industry,” comments Padayachee.