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ISO 14000: environmental standards or trade barrier? (sidebar)

British bottlemaker leads the way
FILED IN:  Sustainability  > Strategy

Although parts of ISO 14000 are still somewhat fuzzy one British blow molder is already heralding its certification. M&H Plastics (Suffolk England) reports that it's among the first 100 companies in the world to be accredited to the British environmental standard (BS7750). It's expected to be similar to or even the model for ISO 14001. M&H a molder of beauty care containers is represented in the U.S. by Lerman Container (Naugatuck CT) among others. According to M&H's marketing manager Shaun Catchpole the company was certified this June as compliant with British Standard BS7750. To achieve this M&H was audited by the British Standards Institution. Catchpole tells Packaging World that the British standard will either be accepted in its entirety for the ISO standard or at the least its provisions will form the basis for the new ISO 14001. The BS7750 requires a system of environmental management that provides for continual improvement in environmental performance. It also ensures that the company conforms with all relevant legislative and regulatory requirements. Catchpole says some U.S. companies have also achieved accreditation with the British standard. Inspectors from BSI spent a week at the M&H plant to check on procedures and records for good environmental behaviour. For example the molder has a regular program for collection and recycling of the waste oil from its blow molding and injection molding systems. Similarly the film bags in which the company receives its resin are collected for recycling into new plastic products. Overall the British standard seeks to minimize the consumption of energy reduce solvent use and minimize waste. Thus far Catchpole says M&H hasn't realized any business benefits from its accreditation. "We do think it will help us in marketing in other European countries but we can't say we've seen any results yet" he says. "However exports are our biggest growth area." M&H achieved ISO 9002 certification in 1991.

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