UK-based brand representative Nuwave Channel Partners has unveiled an innovative plan to reduce its carbon footprint.

A new ‘powered by eKO:sense’ range for its in-house Bitmore brand of travel retail tech accessories aims to reduce the content of plastics in product categories such as audio, power, charge and snyc, by up to 35% through the use of natural wheat stalk material.

Can a wheat by-product help reduce a company’s carbon footprint? Nuwave Channel Partners believes it can.

According to Nuwave Channel Partners, leftover stalk from the harvesting of wheat grain is usually burned. The company said the process creates a public health hazard and contributes to greenhouse gases and air pollution levels.

Nuwave Channel Partners CEO Hoj Parmar: “We have made a firm commitment to finding ways to reduce the use of plastics in our products.”

Nuwave said it realised the potential of this wheat by-product and has “identified the opportunity to reclaim the material and use it in products which contain plastic materials”. The company mixes the wheat by-product with ABS-free BPA plastic via a moulding and polymerisation process. This enables it to reduce plastic content by -35% and offer a natural-looking finish to the resulting products.

“Sustainable and eco-friendly black ink can be added to the wheat stalk/plastic mix to give a traditional smooth black material finish to electronics products,” Nuwave said.

The company collaborates with over 50 airlines for inflight sales of its products; its distribution network includes German travel retail powerhouse Gebr. Heinemann.

Nuwave said airlines and other customers will be able to specify the preferred finish for products from the powered by eKO:sense range.

Nuwave says it can reduce plastic usage even further by adding a bamboo finish to some products

“The environmentally-friendly nature of the powered by eKO:sense ​range is increased by the additional use of naturally-sourced and sustainable bamboo for the product finish in some cases, further reducing plastic content,” the company added.

The range also features certified recycled and recyclable packaging and biodegradable security tamper seals to eliminate the use of shrink wrap.

Nuwave noted that plastic products can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. Since the 1950s, an estimated 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced worldwide; only 9% of that plastic has been recycled. It also cited other figures which indicate that an estimated 73% of beach litter is made from plastic; it is predicted that plastic will outweigh fish in the ocean by 2030.

This has prompted Nuwave to donate some of the profits from the new range to Plastic Oceans UK and to sponsor some of its events, which include beach cleaning. The UK charity aims to stop plastic reaching the oceans within a generation. It engages with schools, communities, scientists and other organisations to rethink the use and value of plastic.

Nuwave Channel Partners CEO Hoj Parmar said: “With one eye on our corporate social responsibility, and noting a recent major survey by which reveals that 89% of consumers are concerned about plastic pollution in the ocean, we have made a firm commitment to finding ways to reduce the use of plastics in our products.

“We all believe that it is only a matter of time before we will have a material that is as strong and versatile as plastic, but fully biodegradable” – Nuwave Channel Partners CEO Hoj Parmar

“Utilising leftover stalk from the harvesting of wheat grain is a very positive step to making our products much more environmentally-friendly, helping to achieve a 35% reduction in plastics use.”

Parmar said Nuwave described the reaction from existing and prospective customers to its powered by eKO:sense range as “overwhelmingly positive”.

“We continue to work with our components suppliers towards 100% plastics free electronics products. We are also working closely with research institutions and packaging manufacturers who are making great progress in this area; we all believe that it is only a matter of time before we will have a material that is as strong and versatile as plastic, but fully biodegradable,” Parmar concluded.