RPL replaces ABS moulding material to accelerate sustainability targets

Sustainability is at the core of the Moulding business area at Ricoh UK Products Ltd (RPL).

The in-house moulding facility produces a wide range of plastic components for toner bottles which are used in RICOH’s suite of Multi-Function Printers (MFP) and Production Printers (PP).

Manufacturing over 3,000,000 parts per month, RPL takes pride in its utilisation strategy of post-consumer recycled (PCR) Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) material in Injection Stretch Blow Moulding (ISBM), the responsible use of process waste and the sourcing of virgin materials in line with RICOH’s Green Public Procurement (GPP) standard.

However, as part of the wider suite of activities (also including Injection Moulding and Extrusion Blow Moulding), the business area is seeking to improve its overall material reuse ratio, supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – specifically, SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production.

According to Senior Engineer (Moulding), Philip Greatrex: “We buy hundreds of tonnes of plastic raw material every year as part of our operations, but we have devised a sustainable improvement roadmap – aiming for 50% of that material to be recycled by the end of FY25, more than 70% in FY30 and 100% in FY50, in line with RICOH’s global net zero target.

“At present, we manufacture all MFP toner bottles from 100% PCR PET, but we are now working on the cap assembly and aspire for all moulded components to be 100% recycled.”

A variety of moulded parts

In a bid to accelerate this timeline, RPL has recently undergone trials using recycled ABS material, replacing its less sustainable virgin counterpart.

Furthermore, the current virgin ABS is sourced from South-East Asia, whereas RPL predominantly operates within the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) region, and the new recycled ABS material is UK-sourced, resulting in huge CO2 reductions from shipping, in addition to improved lead times and a more agile operation.

With ongoing trials, RPL is conducting comprehensive testing to ensure that its applicable moulded products all meet RICOH’s high quality standards.

Philip Greatrex added: “The quality of recycled materials can vary from batch to batch, so we have worked closely with our procurement team to partner with industry-leading suppliers, whereby we have reliable material and full traceability in its lifecycle.”

“I’d like to thank the team for their efforts designing and executing a robust process optimisation and parts evaluation plan to ensure the success of the project.”

A moulding engineering smiling at the camera whilst working on a moulding machine

Moulding Engineer, Awais Shaikh commented: “In the financial year 2023 (FY23), RPL’s Moulding facility recorded a total of 845 tonnes of material usage. Based off this usage – assuming same operations in FY24, we have calculated that, collectively, the business area now utilises 367 tonnes of recycled material.

“This means we are operating at 43% recycled material.

“Should the trial be successful in formally replacing the ABS material, we will be working at approximately 50% in FY24 – potentially even realising this milestone in the 2024 calendar year.”

Click here to find out more about RPL’s Moulding area.

| About RICOH

RICOH is a leading provider of integrated digital services and print and imaging solutions designed to support digital transformation of workplaces, workspaces and optimise business performance.

Headquartered in Tokyo, RICOH’s global operation reaches customers in approximately 200 countries and regions, supported by cultivated knowledge, technologies, and organisational capabilities nurtured over its 85-year history. In the financial year ended March 2023, RICOH Group had worldwide sales of 2,134 billion yen (approx. 16.0 billion USD).

It is RICOH’s mission and vision to empower individuals to find Fulfilment through Work by understanding and transforming how people work so we can unleash their potential and creativity to realise a sustainable future.

For further information, please visit www.ricoh.com

| About Ricoh UK Products Ltd

With a rich manufacturing and innovation heritage, Ricoh UK Products Ltd (RPL) is a leading provider of print and imaging solutions, ink and digital supplies and bespoke technical services.

With operations in Telford and Stirling, RPL supports customers across the EMEA region with a multitude of product and service offerings in addition to knowledge sharing and co-creation activities.

As such, RPL brings together employees, customers and partners to optimise today’s world of print and influence the digital print applications and services of the future, enabling new shared value and organisational capabilities.

For further information, please visit https://ukproducts.ricoh.com/

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