Refresh Cartridges are honoured to have been selected by their local MP, Kevin Foster, as the Torbay nomination for the Responsible Business Champion 2018. On July 4th we will be catching the train to Westminster for the reception when Andrew Griffiths MP, the Corporate Responsibility Minister, will present the award to the winner.
In response to this exciting nomination, we thought it worthwhile to talk some of the good that we’re doing as a company and some of the changes we hope to make in the future.
Energy – Refresh Cartridges recently invested in a zero-emission electric delivery vehicle for our local deliveries and stock transfers. Not only is this vehicle less environmentally damaging than its Diesel and Petrol counterparts but it is also cheaper to run. Almost 40% of the energy that this vehicle uses is power that has been reclaimed simply through the process of braking.
Our electricity accounts are with the green supplier Bulb and gas is with the green supplier Ecotricity; this is with the exception of one site which is sub-metered however we are pressuring the master account holder to change.
We have recently converted our stores and warehouse to energy efficient LED lighting and we estimate we now use 5,000 Watts of power less per hour when compared to the fluorescent lighting we were using previously.
Packaging – Our stores all now use paper rather than plastic bags, at no charge to the customer; these are made from recycled brown kraft paper and are themselves recyclable.
At present, we are using a combination of a lightweight padded bubble envelopes and recycled cardboard boxes to ship out our goods. We are currently looking in to more environmentally friendly alternatives to the padded envelope.
We do not buy in any other packaging materials such as air-filled plastic bags, bubble wrap as we reuse all packaging materials used by suppliers to ship goods in to our warehouse.
Recycling – In addition to the points mentioned above, we also recycle everything we can including paper, cardboard, clear plastics, black plastics and cans. All hardware that has reached the end of its life, whether it was owned by us or left by a customer, is recycled in accordance with WEEE waste directive.
Locally we collect all empty inkjet and toner cartridges. Those that can be recycled back in to another cartridge-based product are remanufactured and those that have no value as an empty cartridge are recycled in the same fashion as any other plastic commodity. Nationally we collect many types of different cartridges, but if not viable then we recommend using local recycling schemes as empty cartridges can now be collected kerbside by most councils.
Small changes such as our mains fed water cooler serve to cut down on the amount of plastic entering our premises.
Staff – All our staff are paid more than the National Living Wage and work in an environment of respect, and free from prejudice. The mental and physical well-being of our staff is paramount, and we like to think that this has contributed to our incredibly high staff retention rate.
We try to be as flexible as possible in our approach to working hours and are an equal opportunities employer who ensures that employees in the same roles are paid equally regardless of age, race or gender. We believe that there is no place for a gender pay gap in the modern working environment.
The Product – As the main area of our business, recycled and refilled cartridges are inherently more environmentally friendly than those that are brand-new. That having been said, it is inescapable that we stock every type of cartridge so that we can offer our customers a genuine choice so while some things are outside of our control we are exerting pressure and making changes where we can.
Our YouTube videos have demonstrated to hundreds of thousands of people the difference in fill capacity between standard and extra-large capacity cartridges. Both capacities use an identical amount of plastic, but the latter often produces several times the number of pages. In store we will offer to refill when acceptable to the customer, but otherwise will always suggest going for the highest yield product with the least environmental impact.
Where possible we buy in and ship out cartridges without boxes, not only to save on wastage but also so that our parcels will slip neatly through a letterbox. We are also putting pressure on any suppliers who still use plastic packaging and have started stocking recycled paper in our stores at a similar price point to the sustainable paper in order so that there is no barrier to making the change.
Charity – We recently made a commitment to give the funds that we raise from our cartridge recycling scheme to a selected local charity whenever we receive a payment from the remanufacturing facility.
This month we have topped up the £74.14 raised from the cartridges collected by our Torquay Warehouse and have donated a further £200 to the incredibly worthy ‘Oscar’s Happy Feet’ fundraising drive. The aim is to raise money for a little boy, aged four, to undergo a life changing operation to restore and maintain mobility that has been restricted due to Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy.
We feel that we can be more community focused in the future and are eager to find a way that we can leverage our manpower and contacts to do good locally.
Our service – We aim to run a company that we ourselves would be happy to buy from and our responsible approach to how we treat our customers has lead to us being listed as a top Third-Party Reseller in Which? Magazine every year for the last half decade.
The feedback for our website on Google Reviews is 4.9/5.0, our store feedback on eBay is 99.9% and our Amazon Marketplace feedback currently stands at 99%. These serve as the highest rankings that we know of when compared to any of our competitors.
With 650 constituencies in the UK all having the opportunity of putting a candidate forward the competition is going to be incredibly tough. The truth is that we are simply thankful for this recognition that this nomination provides.
Of course, there is still plenty of work to be done in the coming years and as such we would welcome any feedback or suggestions that you may have on how we can improve further.