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A pearl of a green idea

bpi.industrial like all of the divisions that make up BPI British Polythene
Industries plc has always had a staunch commitment to minimising its
environmental impact. However, recently the manufacturer’s eco-conscious
approach has taken a whole new and innovative twist.

The business, which supplies heavy-duty printed packaging to customers in the
building and construction, animal feed, horticultural and pharmaceutical markets
is now using oysters to eliminate the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) it
releases into the atmosphere.

A by-product of the printing process, VOCs react with oxygen to create bad,
lower level ozone, which damages vegetation and certain man-made materials,
whilst simultaneously contributing to the greenhouse effect.

Some manufacturers control these VOC emissions using a thermal oxidising unit
but due to their high energy usage and carbon footprint, bpi.industrial was keen
to find an altogether greener alternative. As a result, its Ardeer production
site on the west coast of Scotland currently employs a prototype, oyster-based
bio-filter.

The principle behind this filter is quite simple. VOCs emitted from
bpi.industrial’s printing process are pumped into a series of large containers
half filled with oysters before being forced through these mollusc beds with the
help of a water spray. Harmless bacteria which naturally live on the oyster
shells then feed on the VOCs, allowing cleansed air to be exhausted to the
atmosphere.

Previously, bpi.industrial had used mussels in the filter. These fulfilled the
same function but it was discovered after an extended period of time, that the
mussel shells would begin to collapse causing a reduction in performance. Using
oysters has not only overcome this issue, but has also doubled the efficiency of
the system due to their much larger surface area and thicker bodies.

Speaking of the innovative eco-benefitting technology, Roy McAdoo, Commercial
Director at bpi.industrial, said: "bpi.industrial has always sought new ways to
enhance the green credentials of our business and to give our customers the
reassurance of using products manufactured with maximum sustainability uppermost
in mind. The use of the bio-filter at our Ardeer site, complete with mussels and
more recently oysters, demonstrates just how far we are willing to go in the
pursuit of this important goal."

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