The company, which was established in 1984 and holds the ISO 14001 Environmental Management standard, is one of the UK’s largest sign makers, servicing a wide range of sectors from its one acre site in the heart of Manchester.
It has a turnover of £4 million and employs 65 people.
Astra Signs has a long and productive relationship with ENWORKS, having previously received assistance with its environmental objectives between 2010 and 2011.
During this time, Astra Signs achieved annual savings of £16,000 and 56 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) through a range of different efficiency measures.
ENWORKS business advisor, Alasdair Dalzel-Job, returned to the company in December 2013 to review potential opportunities for new resource efficiency savings through the Green Growth service.
As part of its operations, Astra Signs has traditionally used single-trip polyurethane foam and cardboard to protect signage and other products during transport.
Following advice from ENWORKS, Astra Signs has now invested in reusable removal blankets for transit in order to reduce packaging costs and waste generation.
This measure is set to save £3,600 a year, reducing packaging costs by over 70 per cent.
Although it already recycles a significant proportion of its waste, ENWORKS has helped Astra Signs to increase its recycling rate by moving off-site segregation of dry recyclable materials to on-site.
As a result of this change, silicone-backed release paper – which was previously going to landfill – is now being recycled, reducing general waste costs by 20 per cent.
Astra Signs has also taken the initiative to replace numerous light fittings with high efficiency alternatives, a project which could save £1,787 a year – 12 per cent of its annual electricity costs – as well as 11 tonnes of CO2e.
Furthermore, it has updated its vehicle fleet with more fuel efficient vans and fitted them with trackers to help plan jobs and improve journey efficiency.
Astra Signs is now exploring a number of other opportunities, including the use of lower-energy infrared heat lamps to cure paints and a monitoring process to further improve fuel efficiency through driver awareness.
ENWORKS advisor, Alasdair Dalzel-Job, said: “Astra Signs has a long history of striving to improve its environmental performance and has worked with ENWORKS for several years.
“They continue to show a willingness to explore new opportunities to increase resource efficiency and make impressive cost savings.”
Joe Derbyshire, general manager at Astra Signs, added: “We rank the environment equally with all our company objectives to ensure that we control our impact on the environment.
“The benefit of working with services like Green Growth is that we are continually presented with new opportunities to make improvements, not just on our environmental impact but also on our bottom line.”