Prosafco gives uniforms, helmets and safety shoes a new lease of life
"We are considering the next generation, without losing quality"
Wim Mylle, QESH-manager Prosafco
Prosafco, with its headquarters in Roeselare, distributes personal protective equipment (PPEs) and company uniforms. Sustainability and quality go hand in hand. "The longer a pair of safety shoes lasts, the smaller the impact on the environment. Knowledge is power."
In order to guarantee that the life of its products is maximised, Prosafco offers its clients the option to install an automatic distribution system for PPEs. "You can compare the system with a beverage vending machine," explains Wim Mylle, QESH manager (Quality, Environment, Safety and Health) at Prosafco. "Only we fill the machine with gloves, respiratory filters, uniforms and other PPEs, rather than soda cans. Our clients, who are predominantly production and building companies, decide on their own selection. Employees are given direct access to the PPEs using a badge or code and are therefore always suitably protected. The risk of accidents at work is therefore reduced even further."
At the same time, the distribution system optimises the purchase and replenishment of PPEs. "The machine registers when each particular employee uses which PPEs. In this way, employees and their managers know exactly when an air filter, dust mask, or other PPE with a limited life no longer meet the safety requirement. The system also registers the numbers consumed. This has caused a 30 per cent reduction in the use of PPEs."
"Careful monitoring saves our customers time and money, as well as benefiting the environment. Less consumption means less production, less waste and therefore fewer CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the vending machine is located on-site, reducing the amount of transport."
Turning waste into a business gift
Prosafco also makes the effort to recycle safety shoes and helmets. Wim Mylle: "We arrange to collect worn-out items from our clients. This is managed by our laundry flow, in order to keep the transport to a minimum. Our most popular helmets are made of polyethene (PE) or ABS. Both these materials can be recycled. There is currently no obligation to sort these plastics, however, we collect the safety helmets separately and recycle them into ice buckets and rulers bearing the customer's logo. The customer pays for the processing and receives a personalised, not to mention sustainable gift for its clients in return. We intend doing the same with safety shoes. We are looking for a new partner to convert PU (polyurethane) soles into a sustainable new product, such as flower pots, ashtrays or waste bins."
Work uniforms as insulation
Worn-out uniforms do not get wasted either at Prosafco. "Using Alsico, we work together with the French company Minot Recyclage Textiles, who converts textiles into building insulation. We sort the clothes in Roeselare, as Minot is only able to process clothing without any reflective strips. With the exception of zippers and buttons, the clothing is completely recycled into noise and heat insulation for buildings. This sustainable initiative saves us and our customers from any leftover waste. The new product also contributes to lower energy consumption elsewhere."
Prosafco has belonged to the West-Flemish Charter of Sustainable Business ever since 2013. "Prosafco has consciously chosen to take the lead when it comes to the environment and sustainability. Our recycling and economising activities are quite unique in de PPE sector. That puts us a step ahead with our customers: consumers are also increasingly favouring the environment. We go beyond window dressing. Prosafco truly aims to make a difference."
SUSTAINABILITY BENEFITS IN FIGURES
► The automatic distribution machine Prosafco Provending reduces the use of PPEs by an average of 30 per cent.
► Recycling safety helmets reduces company and production waste by around 5 per cent. 1 safety helmet can be used to make around 8.75 rulers.
► After being used for an average of 3 years, uniforms can be turned into insulation material which will last a good 20 years. Prosafco collects 8 to 10 pallets, or in other words 2.7 tonnes of uniforms each year. That equates to a saving of around 560 euros for processing leftover waste.
► Careful registration extends the life of personal protective equipment (PPEs) → less consumption and therefore less production.
► PPE distribution machines are located on or close to the site → less transport and therefore a reduction in CO2 emissions.
► Worn-out uniforms, safety shoes and helmets are collected and recycled.