An eco-friendly animal bedding company is aiming to start a green revolution on an industrial estate.
Family firm Platts Agriculture Ltd have created a wildlife haven on a plot of land outside their head office on Llay Industrial Estate near Wrexham.
Instead of mowing it as they usually would have done in May, they deliberately let it grow.
The parcel of land, affectionately known as Platts Pasture, is now teeming with a host of different grasses and flowers, including bee orchids, and is buzzing with bees and damsel flies.
The initiative is one of the ground-breaking measures that has earned Platts the coveted Green Dragon accreditation awarded to organisations that demonstrate effective environmental management.
The company is now hoping to persuade other businesses to join a campaign and introduce their own green measures to transform Llay Industrial Estate into a wildlife zone.
The Green Dragon Award is the latest a series of prestigious accolades for Platts who were recently named as UK Family Business of the Year by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) after they gave £1,000 each to their 60 staff for going above and beyond during the Covid crisis.
They had previously won the FSB’s Environment Award for Wales after introducing a raft of green initiatives across their three sites.
The company has invested £1 million in two new baling lines which has led to a 30 per cent reduction in the use of polythene per unit and more recycled material being used in packaging.
At the same time, they have increased the number of bales being stacked on each pallet which means more can be delivered per lorry load.
In addition five new Mercedes trucks have been added to the fleet, making it 20 per cent more fuel efficient and reducing carbon emissions.
Making the company as environmentally responsible as possible is an “absolute passion” for Managing Director Caroline Platt.
Caroline is the daughter of founders Robert and Christine Platt and her son, Christopher, has joined as a director, adding even more entrepreneurial energy.
Six months ago they employed Alison Fuller, who has a National Diploma in Agriculture and a degree in Environmental Science, as the Group Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental Manager.
Alison explained that adding to the company’s positive impact on the environment was a big part of her job.
She said: “There’s a core belief at Platts about the importance of the environment so I am pushing at an open door.
“It’s nice to be in a job to actually help to reduce emissions and reduce impact. I’ve got the time and finance to actually do that, as well as the moral support.
“One of the first things that I suggested is a very simple thing but it’s had quite a good impact is about using the local milkman with milk in reusable glass bottles.
“That ticks lots of boxes because it reduces our plastic waste, supports a local business and it’s supporting the dairy industry with whom we work.
“The introduction of Platts Pasture has been very popular with the staff and we’ve mown a path through it so they can go for a little walk at lunch time. We’re also going to install a bench there so you can sit down and have your lunch.
“Importantly, it’s increased plant biodiversity and there’s food for bees and other pollinating insects. You’ve got more habitat there for a lot more invertebrates. Then when the flowers seed, you’ve got food for birds as well.
“In the autumn, it’ll be mowed once the plants have seeded and then we’ll sow wild flower seeds, so by next summer we should have poppies and different wild plants. It’ll look absolutely stunning.”
According to Alison, she’s hoping to win hearts and minds on the industrial estate with the aim of making it a greener place.
She added: “The Llay Industrial Estate Forum shut down during Covid and I have asked if we could do a presentation about what we’ve done and encourage others to follow suit.
“The estate could become a wildlife corridor or environmental zone which would be good news for planet and everybody who lives on it.”
Managing Director Caroline Platt was proud of what they had achieved so far but added that they were not resting on their green laurels.
She said: “Being as environmentally sustainable as possible is a golden thread running through everything we do at Platts.
“As well as making a lot of sense in terms of the planet, there is an increasing commercial benefit in adopting a greener approach to business.
“That’s why we’re hoping to persuade other companies on Llay Industrial Estate to join us and create something of a green revolution.”