We spoke to the people at Cullen to find out how and why this eco-friendly packaging company from Glasgow is adopting a Circular Economy model.
Please describe your business
As Europe’s only combined manufacturer of moulded pulp and corrugate packaging, Cullen works in partnership with our clients to deliver sustainable products and packaging solutions.
We deliver 100% recyclable, biodegradable and compostable product and packaging solutions for our customers worldwide and operate from a 610,000 sq. ft production facility in Glasgow, employing more than 230 people.
Cullen exports to over 33 countries worldwide, selling over 1 billion eco-friendly products in the last 5 years. This year is our centenary celebrating 100 years in business.
How is your business circular?
Circularity at Cullen begins with excellent design. From the beginning of the process our designers collaborate closely with our customers to minimise waste in the product.
Our internal closed loop recycling system involves using offcuts from our corrugate plant as a raw material in the production of our moulded pulp, eliminating the need for virgin paper whilst decreasing the burden of waste into the environment.
Circular elements such as repurposing of heat, repair and rebuild of machinery and the retention and development of our team are also key components at Cullen.
Why is it important to you to adopt a circular model?
Minimising waste in any process makes operational, economic and environmental sense for Cullen and for our customers – who rely on us to provide products which are eco-friendly and market competitive – it is important that we are that truly sustainable link in their supply chain.
What’s been the best thing for you about going circular?
As the moulded pulp side of the business was implemented in 2001, Cullen applied circular principles long before it became the focus it is today. In response to us looking for innovative ways to utilise the waste from the corrugate facility, we added moulded pulp production to our offering and we’ve never looked back. For Cullen the best thing about applying these circular principles was not only gaining a whole new aspect of the business but also a strengthening of commitment to minimise our own waste and to help our customers to do the same.
What’s been the biggest hurdle?
As circular principles have helped form Cullen as it is today there haven’t been any hurdles as such which shows that they can complement and help progress your operations instead of being a barrier.
In three words, what motivates you to grow the Circular Economy?
No planet B.