Partnering for Positive Environmental Impact

Car parts manufacturer Nifco has recently collaborated with its vending service provider to reduce waste and minimise the impact on the environment as a result of plastic cups use.

The Eaglescliffe-based business, which manufactures parts used in the engines, interiors and exteriors of cars produced by BMW Mini, Ford, General Motors, Honda , Jaguar Landrover, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Vauxhall Opel, in a recent Environmental Committee meeting, raised the idea of incentivising the use of reusable cups for vended hot drinks.

The Nifco Environmental Committee exists, to not only promote environmental best practise and determine ideas to protect Nifco’s local and global environment, but also to support the company’s accreditation to ISO 14001, the global standard for environmental management – a standard which is required by almost all major automotive customers and therefore business critical.

Nifco UK, with more than 650 staff, uses in excess of 500 plastic cups per day - or 16,000 each month - and although these are recyclable, they still have a cost attributed to their disposal and an impact on the environment.

North East Vending, supplier of vending machines to some of the region’s largest firms, universities, hospitals and community buildings is a family-run business with a history of more than 40 years and holds customer relationships and the environment in high regard.

Sarah Forster, Operations Director at North East Vending commented, “We have been working with Nifco since 2007, and our ethos is to ‘vend over backwards’ so when the team approached us to ask what we could do to encourage vending users to use a cup of their own we really wanted to support. The impact single use plastics are having on our environment is shocking, and the state we leave the world in for future generations is a huge concern, I hope that offering a 25% price reduction on vended drinks will really encourage the team at Nifco to use their own cups. Of course, this alone won’t save the planet but it’s a great contribution.”

The changes came into force at Nifco on 1st August, and see colleagues play their small part in the reduction of plastic cup use in the UK.

“In this country, we are using 7 million disposable coffee cups each day and the team at Nifco is contributing to that obscene figure. In business, as part of our corporate responsibility, we have to look at the impact we have on our environment and make positive improvements wherever we can, however small – as with most improvements, it’s about a number of small steps, rather than a single silver bullet,” said Erika Marshall, Marketing and Communications Manager at Nifco.

“Our colleagues are delighted that we are proactively supporting them in their own efforts to be environmentally friendly, and when you add that to the financial saving offered by North East Vending - a reduction of 5p per drink, can total an annual saving of more than £50 – based on four drinks per day, in a 260 working day year – this initiative has been met with an incredible response.”