For a long time now, Dudson has adopted a proactive approach towards production methods, introducing new technologies and methods of production to reduce the impact of its manufacturing operations on the environment.
MANUFACTURING CERAMIC products has traditionally been costly to the environment, with firing and glazing in particular requiring high energy use. But with rocketing increases in the price of gas and electricity alongside the detrimental effect on the environment of burning fossil fuels, the situation was fast becoming unsustainable.
A reduction in firing temperature was one possible solution, but previous attempts to achieve this aim had proven to be uneconomic or had resulted in a negative effect on the quality of tableware. However, in 2004, local company Endeka Ceramics embarked upon the development of new energy efficient bodies and glazes to provide a solution to these issues.
By reducing firing temperatures, thermECO brings benefits to producers, end users, and the environment, explains Stuart Adams, managing director of Endeka Ceramics. We in the Uk lead the world in low-temperature ceramics, and work continues at Endeka to reduce firing temperatures further and reduce the number of firings required to produce ceramics to ensure that we maintain that lead.
Today, all Dudson ceramic products are protected by a thermECO glaze, one of the new high-performance, energy-efficient products from Endeka Ceramics Ltd. developed during this intensive programme. A low temperature glaze has many benefits for customers, including increased hardness of the glaze, a high-gloss finish and improved metal marking resistance, as well as many benefits to Dudson production:
Lower temperature firing = less energy used;
Lower temperature firing = lower emissions;
Improved stability during firing process = less waste generated;
Unleaded glaze = cleaner effluent from the glazing process;
Greater durability of product = a higher level of customer satisfaction
The use of thermECO glaze has been particularly acclaimed in the development of Evolution, a new ceramic body developed by Dudson with the prime objective of reducing the carbon footprint created during manufacture. Carbon emissions produced in the manufacture of Evolution are 79 per cent* less than those produced in the manufacture of an equivalent porcelain product. The use of energy efficient glazes demonstrates just one of the many
programme of environmental improvements to the production process.
A recent recycling project concentrated on trying to reduce the amount of glaze used when spraying flatware, with the aim of both reducing the amount of glaze used on a daily basis, and also the quantity of glaze going to waste (effluent.) Any waste glaze was thoroughly cleaned and sent through a filtration system, before being added to new glaze and re-used in the spray-glaze process. The initial trial produced a saving of 40 per cent, and it is hoped that with improvements to the re-claiming process, this figure will increase to an overall saving of 60 per cent of the quantity of glaze used in the spraying process. As the waste glaze is recycled, the quantity going to effluent is negligible, resulting in a positive environmental outcome.
Having been accredited with the ISO14001 Environmental Management Standard, Dudson remains even more committed to a sustainable environmental strategy, developing innovative solutions to reduce the effect of production on the environment.
*According to independent testing by Endeka Ceramics Ltd on kiln firing processes.
Awards on a Plate
Dudson, which supplied the Award trophies for the event, was thrilled to be short-listed in two categories of the Footprint Awards, as well as being sponsor of the Community vote Award.
The company was runner-up with its once-fired product Evolution in the Sustainable Catering Equipment Award, which diners had the opportunity to see at first hand when they were presented with their main course, which was served on Evolution. Dudson also produced the Award trophies in the form of Evolution plates, which were presented to the winners.
Dudson was also proud to sponsor the Community vote Award. This category was open to anyone to nominate any kind of foodservice business, whether a local tearoom or a chain of nationwide restaurants, that made a difference by putting sustainability at the top of the agenda. The winner was the holland house retreat Centre, the first retreat in the Uk to become a member of the Sustainable restaurant Association. The centre serves local meat and vegetables, locally produced drinks including beer, wine and fruit juice and even has beehives to produce honey.
The awards recognise the achievements of both companies and individuals within the food service industry in reducing the impact of their actions on the environment. The evening provided an ideal opportunity to demonstrate best practice, promote environmental excellence and encourage everyone to get involved, says Dudson marketing manager Katie Dudson.