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  Lincolnshire textile printer ink-corporates sustainability across its business

Lincolnshire textile printer ink-corporates sustainability across its business

A Lincolnshire-based textiles firm is halving its energy costs and curbing its chemical use by 70%, cementing its position as a leader in the digital textile printing industry. 

Countryside Art, which has been operating for over 40 years, has introduced a new energy efficient, state-of-the-art printing machine to help reach this target and build on its 15-year track record of green operations. 

The business is a family affair, founded by John and Margery Chapman and now run by the couple’s children Kathy and Lawrence. It produces screen-printed textiles including tea towels, tote bags, cushions and aprons for many well-known brands and attractions, with the giftware stocked in the likes of The British Museum, Kew Gardens and the Natural History Museum.  

Investing in a new, more energy-efficient printer is helping the business cut its energy costs and carbon costs by 50% and its chemical use by 70%, thanks to an innovative process that sprays pre-treatment chemicals only where the ink dots will land. However, its ecofriendly efforts don’t stop there. 

Business owners Lawrence and Kathy pride themselves on being ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability. In 2009, they invested in 15kW of solar panels in a bid to reduce Countryside Art’s carbon emissions. This doubled in 2020 to 30kW and in 2022 an additional 34kW of solar panels were installed – these now generate around 38% of the energy consumed and, at the height of the energy crisis, were saving the business around £3,000 a month.  

Improving energy efficiency and investing in low carbon sources like solar panels has already put the business in good stead as we edge closer to the UK’s net zero by 2050 goal. However, Countryside Art has also been working on a more unusual sustainable project – at least for a textile printer. 

Following an extension built in 2019, Lawrence and Kathy decided to start a rewilding project behind the Lincolnshire factory, creating a habitat to encourage wildlife and biodiversity in the area. To date they have overseen the planting of 200 trees to encourage birds, butterflies and insects, as well as building a new pond to attract wildlife.   

This has all been made possible through the business’ long-standing relationship with Lloyds Bank. In 1996, founders John and Margery approached the bank for financing to buy machinery which would catapult Countryside Art from a kitchen table business to a leader in the digital textile printing market. This support has continued over the years, and most recently, a £58,000 Clean Growth Finance Initiative (CGFI) loan – which provides discounted lending to help firms with sustainable projects – has supported the business to purchase its new printing machine. 

Looking to the future, the siblings plan to invest in a second machine with support from Lloyds Bank, to help the business reduce its carbon footprint further and hope to generate up to 70% of their energy from low carbon sources in the next 5 years.  

Lawrence Chapman, managing director at Countryside Art, said:

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without the backing we’ve had from Lloyds Bank. The ability to support our changing needs over the years, from merchandising our printing back in 1996 to helping us on our sustainability journey in 2024, is a testament to the bank’s ability to understand and nurture a business – no matter where it is on its net zero journey. 

“Since taking over the business with Kathy, sustainability has been one of our key focus areas. I have a background in environment and sustainability so it’s something I’ve always been passionate about, and we know now more than ever the importance of investing in equipment that will help us stay competitive as we move closer to the UK’s net zero deadline. The new machine is already helping us to become more energy efficient and reduce chemical waste which will be the future of digital printing.” 

Louise Fewster, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said:

“It’s impressive to see the commitment Countryside Art has to its sustainability journey. The approach it’s taking to reduce its carbon footprint by investing in more energy efficient machinery and low carbon energy sources, should act as a blueprint for other manufacturing facilities on the road to net zero.  

“I look forward to working with Lawrence and Kathy to identify future opportunities to help grow the business and continue its amazing sustainability journey.” 

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