Nuwave Channel Partners, which retails products through more than 50 airlines, is making a bold move to reduce its carbon footprint with the introduction of the new powered by eKO:sense range for its Bitmore brand of travel retail tech accessories. It involves reducing the content of plastics in product categories such as audio, power, charge and sync by up to 35 per cent through the use of natural wheat stalk material.
Traditionally, the leftover stalk from the harvesting of wheat grain is burned, contributing to greenhouse gases and air pollution levels, and in the process creating a public health hazard. Nuwave has seen the potential of this wheat by-product and identified the opportunity to reclaim the material and use it in products which contain plastic materials.
Nuwave, which manufactures its own products and includes German travel retailer Gebr. Heinemann among its distributors, mixes the wheat by-product with ABS-free BPA plastic via a moulding and polymerisation process. This enables it to reduce plastic content by 35 per cent and give a natural-looking finish to the resulting products.
Sustainable and eco-friendly black ink can be added to the wheat stalk/plastic mix to give a traditional smooth black material finish to electronics products. Airline and other customers will be able to specify the preferred finish for products from the powered by eKO:sense range.
The environmentally-friendly nature of the powered by eKO:sense range is increased by the additonal use of naturally-sourced and sustainable bamboo for the product finish in some cases, further reducing plastic content.
The range also features 100% certified recycled and recyclable packaging and the use of biodegradable security tamper seals (eliminating the use of shrink wrap).
The company notes that plastic products can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade and that since the 1950s an estimated 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced worldwide, only nine per cent of which has been recycled. Further, an estimated 73 per cent of beach litter is made from plastic, and it is predicted that plastic will outweigh fish in the ocean by 2030.
With this in mind, Nuwave has taken the decision to donate some of the profits from the new range to the charity Plastic Oceans UK and sponsor some of its events, such as beach cleaning and other initiatives.
Nuwave CEO Hoj Parmar said: “With one eye on our corporate social responsibility, and noting a recent major survey by statista.com which reveals that 89 per cent of consumers are concerned about plastic pollution in the ocean, we have made a firm commitment to finding ways to reduce the use of plastics in our products.
“Utilising leftover stalk from the harvesting of wheat grain is a very positive step to making our products much more environmentally-friendly, helping to achieve a 35 per cent reduction in plastics use. We have revealed our plans for the powered by eKO:sense range to existing and prospective customers and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We continue to work with our components suppliers towards 100 per cent plastics free electronics products. We are also working closely with research institutions and packaging manufacturers who are making great progress in this area; we all believe that it is only a matter of time before we will have a material that is as strong and versatile as plastic, but fully biodegradable.”