Precision plastic injection moulding firm Icon Plastics has extended its commitment to the environment with the installation of 500 solar photovoltaic panels.
The company, based at Durham Lane Industrial Estate, Eaglescliffe, already has a keen focus on making its operations as green as possible.
Its moulded scrap plastic is granulated and remoulded into steel girder foundations used in the construction industry and waste cardboard packaging, paper and polythene bags are all bailed and sold on to a specialist recycling company.
During the last 12 months, Icon has halved the amount of waste going to landfill saving thousands of pounds and the sale of recyclable material is generating additional income for the business.
The panels, which have been installed on Icon’s main factory roof by Advantage Energy Ltd, of Darlington, will enable the company to generate its own electricity during the week and benefit from the Feed in Tariff at weekends, when the factory is not operational.
Icon’s latest investment, totalling £120,000, will reduce its impact on the environment as well as cuttings its annual running cost by about £30,000.
Under the Government’s Feed-in-Tariff scheme, businesses are paid a tariff for the electricity they generate and a tariff for the electricity they export back to the national grid. Due to Icon receiving this tariff for the next 20 years, the project is expected to pay for itself in four years.
Managing Director Gareth Thomas, who runs the business with Operations Director Phil Walker, said: “This latest investment in Icon Plastics’ green credentials demonstrates how an environmental focus can pay dividends for a company.
“We have found that it is good business practice to continually look at ways of reducing our environmental impact, which have the added benefit of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Icon’s operations.”
The company has a robust environmental policy, which was scrutinised as part of the independent validation carried out in advance of it being awarded the prestigious TS16949 industry accreditation.
Icon, which has customers in a range of sectors including electronics, agricultural, healthcare and medical, construction, defence and automotive, now has invested more than £1m since it moved to Durham Lane Industrial Park in 2014.
It operates around the clock five days a week and has 24 moulding machines. While Icon’s marketplace is predominantly the UK, it does some business overseas, and exports to Malaysia, Austria, and Eastern Europe. Its clients include Veolia group, and Sepura.