Why we love "Made in the UK"
The United Kingdom is a country that has a rich history in manufacturing, with a diverse range of industries from textiles and engineering to pharmaceuticals and aerospace. I'm from West Yorkshire, and my grandmother actually worked in the textile mills. It's been sad to see such a decline in manufacture taking part in this area, even throughout my lifetime.
Here are a few photo's from our family visit to Bradford Industrial Museum in July 2021, the kids loved learning about the history of the area!
The Bradford Industrial Museum is a fascinating museum located in Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK. The museum is housed in a former textile mill, which has been beautifully restored and transformed into a museum showcasing the history of industry in Bradford and the surrounding area.
The museum is home to a vast collection of industrial machinery and artefacts, including textile machinery, steam engines, and printing presses. Visitors can explore the various galleries and exhibits, which cover different aspects of industry, including textiles, printing, transport, and engineering.
One of the highlights of the museum is the working mill gallery, which showcases the machinery and processes involved in textile production. Visitors can see how wool was spun into yarn, dyed, and woven into fabric, and can watch demonstrations of the machinery in action. The museum also has a gallery dedicated to printing, which features a working letterpress printing press and a collection of historic printing presses and typefaces.
The museum is not just a static display of machinery and artefacts, but also features a range of interactive exhibits and activities for visitors of all ages. Children can explore the museum's learning zone, which features hands-on activities and games, and can even try their hand at operating some of the machinery.
Overall, the Bradford Industrial Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history of industry and technology. The museum provides a fascinating insight into the industrial heritage of Bradford and the surrounding area, and offers a unique and engaging experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you are a history buff, a fan of industrial machinery, or simply looking for an interesting and educational day out, the Bradford Industrial Museum is definitely worth a visit. Oh, and it's FREE to visit too!
The importance of sustainability
In recent years, there has been a growing awareness and concern about the environmental impact of industry, and a push towards sustainable manufacturing practices. This has led to a range of initiatives and efforts by UK manufacturers to reduce their carbon footprint, increase energy efficiency, and promote circular economy principles.
One key area of focus for UK manufacturers has been reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018, the UK became the first major economy to pass a net-zero emissions law, committing to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. This has provided a clear target for manufacturers to work towards, and many have made significant strides in reducing their carbon footprint.
WHAT’S A CARBON FOOTPRINT?
A carbon footprint is defined as “The amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation, or community”
UK manufacturing laws are in line with saving the environment, and goods manufactured on home soil often have a significantly lower carbon footprint than those mass produced in countries abroad such as China and India. Although we might not see much of a difference now, our grandchildren will certainly be glad we all invested in British made goods in the years to come. After all, UK made goods do not need to be transported half way across the world!
Doing our bit...
OUR MELAMINE PRODUCTS
For our melamine range of products; which currently includes coasters, placemats and cutting boards, our manufacturers use a sustainably forested Eucalyptus Board which is 100% PEFC certified and 100% formaldehyde free. This ensures we provide the needs of the present, without compromising the needs of the future. The cork used on the back of our placemats and coasters is also sustainably farmed in Portugal. All of our materials are sourced as close to the UK as possible, aiming to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible.
Rejects and off cuts are used to fuel a local power station, instead of using coal power. Wood dust goes towards compost. The backing paper on the cork is used in packing goods for despatch.
OUR TEXTILE PRODUCTS (tea towels, aprons and bags)
Our UK based textile manufacturer take their environmental responsibility very seriously and do everything they can to reduce waste and keep production clean. The reactive inks used not only allow us to achieve vibrant colours that jump off the shelf, they also boast superior rub and wash fastness and conform to Oeko-Tex standard 100, meaning they contain no harmful chemicals. Additionally, we are certain that all of the materials used in the production of these inks are synthetic; they do not contain any animal products and have not been tested on animals.
Our 100% cotton fabrics are sourced direct from a BCI registered mill in Pakistan. As part of the digital printing process, fabrics are washed at up to 70 degrees to remove any preparation solution and unfixed dyes. The waste water is then processed through an effluent plant and released back to public water treatment processing plants.
PAPER PRODUCTS AND OUR PACKAGING
Our greeting card manufacturer are proud to be a zero to landfill site. 95% of waste is manufactured back into recycled products and the remaining 5% is converted into Refuse Derived Fuel.
Bean and Bemble products will be supplied to you beautifully packaged with our branded belly band, swing tags, label or box, ready for your customers to purchase. We ensure packaging is kept to a minimum without compromising on style, and always use recyclable paper and card for our postal packing materials.
All our branded packaging is manufactured right here in the UK too, including the compostable cellophane sleeves we use for our greeting cards to offer protection from fingerprints. If you would prefer your cards to be supplied without sleeves, please just let us know. We always try to source our packaging as close to home as possible. Orders will usually be sent out in plain brown packaging - yes it isn't as glamorous as we'd like, but it's much easier to recycle! We even use brown paper parcel tape instead of plastic to seal the package!
As a small business, we look for innovative solutions to help us reduce waste, like reusing supplier shipping boxes for wholesale or larger orders - so we're sorry if your order arrives looking a little battered ;) we promise the contents will be totally gorgeous!
The challenges we all face
Despite these efforts, there are still challenges facing all UK manufacturers in their journey towards sustainability. One of the key challenges is the cost of implementing sustainable practices, which can be a barrier for smaller companies such as Bean and Bemble, or those operating in industries with tight profit margins. For example, the paper packing tape we use to seal our boxes and the paper bubble wrap we use are a lot more expensive than their plastic alternatives sadly.
There is a need for greater awareness and education around sustainability, particularly among consumers who can play a key role in driving demand for sustainable products.
Overall, however, there is a growing momentum towards sustainability in UK manufacturing, with many companies and organisations recognising the need to reduce their environmental impact and embrace circular economy principles. This is not only good for the planet, but also for business, as sustainable practices can lead to cost savings, increased efficiency, and improved brand reputation. As the UK continues to transition towards a net-zero economy, sustainable manufacturing will undoubtedly play a key role in achieving this goal.
We will continue to do our best to be as sustainable as we can. If you would like more information about any of our products and / or our manufacturing processes, please feel free to get in touch.
How to find British made products
There are an increasing number of independent retailers, and websites / marketplaces focusing on stocking predominantly or entirely British made products, which is wonderful to see. Some of our favourites can be found below:
Hope+Story are one of my favourites - partly because we sell our products on there ;) but also because their ethos is the same as our own! The ladies at Hope + Story have been kind enough to offer us a little commission for mentioning them here, so if you use the link from here, we get a little bonus, whoop! There are some very tempting goodies on there, and all made in the UK.
Make it British have a full directory of UK Brands for you to check out!
We’re planning a whole blog post on this soon, so please keep a look out for that! In our 2 years in business, we’ve met some fabulous people selling equally fabulous goodies, and we can’t wait to share!
By purchasing from us, and these other British businesses making in the UK, you are helping to boost the UK economy. Thank you x