Although sustainability isn't a new concern, it is becoming much more important in today's World. All forms of industry are having to put more and more focus on sustainable practices. The raw materials being used are right at the forefront of these practices.
Here at Kitronik, we are actively looking at how we can become more sustainable, both in terms of our own business and also in the products we sell. Materials are a key part of this. Let's explore sustainability and then some of our sustainable options.
What Are Sustainable Materials?
Sustainable materials are materials that either come from a renewable source or that can be fully recycled. Ideally, to be fully sustainable then both of those conditions need to be met. Additionally, renewable resources should be harvested in a way that doesn't damage the environment.
Although there are still plenty of products that don't tick any of those boxes, the tide is turning. Greener alternatives are slowly replacing those made from single-use and non-renewable resources. There are a lot of factors that contribute to these changes. Regulation, legislation, proactive company actions, and consumer led actions are just some of the key drivers towards this.
Sustainability is definitely an active topic at Kitronik. We are continually researching potential new additions to our range and greener lines are a priority. Let's take a look at some of the greener options we sell and explore their properties.
As a green material bamboo is hard to beat. It grows quicker than any other plant, up to 1M per day, and it can be harvested without harming the mother plant. Generally, 20-25% of the poles in a sustainable forest or plantation can be harvested each year. The plant does not die after harvesting (as with trees), so no deforestation. On the contrary, by harvesting the mature plants, the yield and quality of the plantation actually increase. During growth, bamboo absorbs more CO2 than is released during production. They are therefore CO2 neutral over the complete life-cycle.
Bamboo is often used as a direct replacement for hardwoods. Bamboo plants fully mature in 4-5 years and can then be harvested yearly. This stands in stark contrast with hardwoods. These take over 50 years to mature, are increasingly scarce,e and often more expensive.
You can learn more about bamboo here.
Greencast® is a high-quality cast acrylic that is made from 100% recycled acrylic. It has all of the same great properties as standard acrylics but with far fewer drawbacks. Greencast® is a circular material. This means that it starts out made from 100% recycled acrylics and it can then be recycled. Each time it is recycled it retains all of its quality attributes.
It can be used as a direct replacement for non-recycled cast acrylics as it has all of the same properties. It can also be laser cut and worked just the same as any other acrylic. If recycled responsibly, it should never find its way into landfills or bodies of water. Instead, it can be recycled locally and turned back into acrylic sheets.
You can learn more about Greencast acrylic here.
Poplar Laser Plywood (laserply):
Laser plywoods (laserply) are some of our most popular materials and that popularity is growing. It's a material of choice for both schools and makers, as you can achieve stunning results relatively easily. Poplar is a cultivated wood that grows quickly, which makes it a very sustainable product. As it is wood it can be fully recycled.
Poplar is easier to work with than woods such as Birch due to its lower density. This also translates to the laser cutter in that it can be cut with lower power settings.
You can learn more about laser Plywood here.
Cork serves as one of the best examples of raw material sustainability. The cork industry is regarded as being very environmentally friendly as the tree that the bark comes from continues to grow and thrive after the bark is removed. The bark will then grow back, allowing for the tree to be harvested again. Cork is also 100% recyclable, AND, can be used as an alternative to leather.
Cork is a waterproof material and is surprisingly durable. It has good elastic and compression properties and excellent thermal, acoustic and anti-vibration resistance, making it suitable for a wide range of uses.
You can learn more about cork on the product page.
Make sure you don't miss out on other news or free resources by signing up for our newsletter here.
©Kitronik Ltd – You may print this page & link to it, but must not copy the page or part thereof without Kitronik's prior written consent.