Derivan's mission statement has been kept very simple so as to be easily understood and adhered to. We are very conscious of our environmental footprint, and plan our actions around a simple but effective creed:
Mission statement extract:
"To become the leading supplier/manufacturer of artist's acrylics world-wide by providing unsurpassed quality and service ... employing environmentally sound practices both in the products and production."
In 2009, Derivan was involved in a study with the Central Queensland Local Government Association to gather information on the levels of awareness of, and willingness to participate in, recycling and other waste minimisation activities by residents within the Rockhampton and Gladstone areas.
The findings indicated that 78% respondents had a yellow lid recycling bin at home. Yellow lid bins in Queensland are suitable for collecting paper, cardboard, glass bottles, jars, aluminum and steel cans (including aerosols), juice and milk cartons, and plastic containers for recycling.
The results indicated that 59% of respondents were sure about what items could be recycled and how, although there was some confusion with items such as pizza boxes, plastic bags and drinking glasses, all of which are currently not recyclable.
While these results indicate most people understand the importance of recycling, there is still room to raise awareness. We at Derivan understand that it is equally important to encourage recycling as well as develop products that minimise waste. Therefore, we have implemented a number of recycling programs and environmentally friendly practices within our company.
We refer to this as the Derivan 3P Sustainability Program - the three P’s standing for Product, Packaging and Production.
We do everything possible to ensure that the surpassing quality of our paints doesn't come at a significant cost to the environment. Below are some of the ways that Derivan is minimising its environmental impact, and planning for a sustainable future.
No Derivan paints contain lead or chromates of any kind. Any other heavy metal elements contained in the paints are fully reacted, and as such will present no biological harm if introduced to the environment as land fill. Likewise, everyday use by artists disposing of their waste wash up water on the garden will present no biological harm. However, we would advise disposing of waste water on non-edible plants, in keeping with known best practices.
There are several steps involved in our approach to packaging. We define "containers" as those containers that come in contact with paint or paint related products, (such as jars, cans and tubes) and packaging as those products which hold the containers (such as boxes, and PET clams and boxes).
Recycling of containers for re-use by Derivan:
After research we have found that the likelihood of having paint containers returned to us for re-use was, at best, very low. The main obstacles to this strategy are:
That product may be kept for extended periods (literally for decades in some cases) and continues to be used in that time, so tracking and monitoring return would be a slow process, on an individual basis.
That products are sent all around the world and the environmental cost of returning them would far outweigh any positive effects of re-use especially taking into account the cleaning of residual contents.
Because of these obstacles, it was decided that the first step was to make the packaging more likely to be re-used by the consumers themselves: consumers may clean out and re-use the containers for other purposes after they have used the contents. As re-use of containers uses the least amount of resources and energy, this became a primary objective. We engaged design consultants and informally polled our customers, to arrive at the designs of our 36ml, 40ml, 50ml, 250ml and 500ml containers. We then introduced universally recyclable materials (materials that can be easily recycled at a local level, eg. PET plastics) as our next objective.
This strategy was more practical than attempting to retrieve product containers.
PET Clam Packaging:
PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) clam packs are the plastic bubble containers that are used to pack and transport our paint tubes. We also use cardboard boxes in this process. Locally, we have a program in place to encourage “clam” packs and cardboard boxes to be returned to us for re-use.
Internationally, returns are not viable, so these packaging products are made from recyclable (and where possible recycled) materials only (namely PET and cardboard). For instance, at present, the PET clam packs, which contain the tubes, are made up of 30% in-house recycled material, and 5% post-consumer recycled material, however our suppliers are looking to improve this ratio. We keep a constant watch on new technology and new packaging innovations. Where possible, we ensure that our suppliers are using the latest energy efficient technology to produce our packaging.
Soft 2 Litre Eco-Pak:
Derivan is introducing a new standard of packaging for our most popular childrens and students range of products after sponsoring research into the recycling habits. It is equally important to encourage recycling as well as develop products that minimise waste. With this in mind, we have developed a new form of packaging that is both practical and reduces our overall carbon footprint.The new Eco-Pak is unlike anything we have used before. Basically it is a soft recyclable plastic package that resembles a wine cask container. It has a flat base and the colour of the paint that it contains is clearly visible. A squared-off edge has a screw cap and nozzle for easy pouring.
Recycling inward bound packaging:
Where possible, we recycle all packaging that makes up our raw material supply chain. This is done in several ways.
Through the use of pallecons and IBC’s (large raw material containers) which are returnable to the supplier
Through returning drums to the supplier (where possible) and recycling those that can't.
We have initiated the return to our suppliers of many of the outer cartons we receive containers in. Where this is not possible or energy efficient, they are recycled via a company who collects and collates like size boxes, and supplies them on to other companies. By sending the boxes off to be reused, less energy is consumed than if they were processed and made into new cardboard boxes. Those boxes, cardboard and paper that can't be recycled are sent for recycling by Visy.
As a last resort, a very small amount of cardboard may make it to landfill. To reduce the amount of cardboard going to landfill, we actively avoid “contaminating” ie paint or pigment staining the cardboard.