Lincolnshire's sustainable firms thrive in throwaway society
A company that sells pillows and duvets made from alpaca coats was one of four companies to top a sustainable packaging competition.
Penrose Products, which is receiving advice and funds to develop its ideas, was announced as a winner at the SUSTAIN Lincolnshire 2013 Expo.
The company, run by Beckingham businessman Paul Whittey, uses recycled paper, compostable bags, and vegetable ink in its packaging.
Cardboard cylinders that protect its duvets can also be turned into storage bins by adding waste cotton bags, which are used to carry the goods.
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Penrose Products was one of several eco-friendly firms on show at the expo, on Thursday, March 7.
Mr Whittey said: "We wanted to give the packaging another life after it had been used and make us even more sustainable.
"Our products are now virtually carbon neutral and we've made our supply chain sustainable – from the source right through to the end.
"I would say SUSTAIN Lincolnshire's help has pushed my business's development forward by about a year, so we very much appreciate their help."
As part of the competition, funded by SUSTAIN Lincolnshire, the firm was given new equipment to help produce its packaging.
Former Dragon's Den entrant Andrew Harsley was another competition winner – creating a prototype mould injection system that can reuse domestic items like plastic bottle tops.
Mark Piercy, of Lincoln-based Skillserve 2000, was also successful, after he created an eco-friendly compacting machine for waste packaging.
The final winner was Peter Stevenson Limited, which is working on a project to test new blends of plastic.
All four companies have been offered new machinery, which can be used by other firms that are trying to develop their own green packaging ideas.
The expo came as the SUSTAIN Lincolnshire project approached its end.
Dozens of people from organisations across the county came to hear about its success and also listen to experts speak about the very latest green issues.
Sir Brian Hoskins, director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London, delivered an update on the reality of climate change.
He explained global temperatures are expected to rise by between 2C and 4C by 2100.
"By producing these greenhouse gasses we are holding an extremely dangerous experiment with our planet," he said.
"It really is getting to a critical period for us."
Sir Brian said the world may need to create ways of reducing the impact of the sun's rays, advocating a method of creating protective clouds by putting particles into the stratosphere.
He added cutting the Earth's energy use would not be enough to stop global warming.
"If we did manage to balance the global energy budget there would still be global warming," he said.
"There needs to be a legacy of hundreds of years of trying to do this."
SUSTAIN Lincolnshire is funded both by Lincolnshire County Council and the European Regional Development Fund.
Since starting in 2010, it has helped businesses to save almost £300,000 through energy efficiency advice.
Its funding will cease at the end of March.