Agfa Graphics has been honoured with a European logistics excellence award for its recycling programme for aluminium plates.
The European Logistics Association awards event in Brussels saw the Belgian group's 'Sustainability through recycling via collaborative supply chain' project named as the best presentation from six nominees.
Agfa won the Belgian Supply Chain Award for the same project last year. It involves the supply of printing plates - representing more than 60 per cent of its turnover - in a sustainable closed-loop solution with a number of supply chain partners.
An evaluation of the carbon footprint of printing plates showed first evidence that it is primarily impacted by the production of the aluminium itself. However, recycling methods now allow for the use of recycled plates in the production process, reducing the total carbon footprint by 70 per cent provided that the plates are carefully sent back to the aluminum manufacturer after printing.
"This LCA study inspired us to develop and implement a new circular supply chain for printing plates aiming at a process that is both financially and environmentally sustainable for all parties involved," Agfa operations vice president Geert Lammens says. "This resulted in a collaborative supply chain model between Agfa and its aluminum suppliers, its logistics partners and its customers."
The closed-loop approach guarantees that the aluminum is not uncontrollably downcycled, yet instead maintains its intrinsic value as much as possible.
Lammens says the system is being rolled out internationally with high volume printing companies: "Being rewarded with the prize of the European logistics audience is an honour for the whole team."
Pictured (from left): Jos Marinus (ELA) with Agfa's Erlend Geens, John Newland, Geert Lammens, Marc Verhaegen, Ingrid Van Sande, Peter Verschave and Eddy Pellegroms