So you’ve decided to be more environmentally conscious. That’s good for the earth-and it can be good for your bottom line. How to get there, though, can be quite daunting. But the best way to achieve a giant leap forward with your sustainable strategy is to take a lot of baby steps.
So you’ve decided to be more environmentally conscious. That’s good for the earth-and it can be good for your bottom line. How to get there, though, can be quite daunting. But the best way to achieve a giant leap forward with your sustainable strategy is to take a lot of baby steps. Some areas where you can make progress are with platemaking, in-plantplastics recycling and energy efficient blown-film systems. These leading suppliers share their solutions for helping you earn more green points with your customers.
Debbra Johnson, market segment manager, DuPont Packaging Graphics;
Manufacturer of flexographic printing plates and equipment;
Tim Hanrahan, chief executive officer; Erema North America;
Manufacturer of plastics recycling machinery and systems;
Tim Lewis, vice president, marketing and sales, CMD Corp.
Manufacturer of converting equipment for the plastic, blown-film industry;
Q: WHAT ASPECT OF YOUR OPERATION IS PARTICULARLY ‘GREEN?Debbra Johnson, DuPont Packaging Graphics:DuPont Cyrel FAST, a platemaking system that uses thermal technology, eliminates the use of solvents, reduces energy consumption and increases productivity for printing graphics compared to traditional solvent platemaking systems. This thermal technology eliminates the need for solvent handling, lengthy recordkeeping and stringent cleaning of accidental spills, not to mention the often unpleasant odor associated with many solvents.
Tim Hanrahan, Erema North America:Developing technology for efficient, profitable recycling is our sole concern. We offer complete plastic recycling systems and recycling components, including pelletizers and screenchangers, with an output range of 200 pounds to more than two tons per hour. Our recycling systems are frugal consumers of electricity. They are compact, quiet and cleanly operating systems.
Approaching its 25th anniversary, Erema is the No. 1 supplier of plastics recycling systems in the world. With more than 2,500 systems in operation every day, Erema systems recycle in excess of 20 billion pounds of plastic scrap per year. They operate indemanding operating environments and over the years have allowed us to make available to plastics processors the benefits of an unequaled amount of hands on recycling kowledge.
Erema North America Inc. distributes Erema machinery, which is made in Austria, and provides complete, U.S.-based service and close technical support. An extensive partsinventory is maintained in the Massachusetts headquarters.
Tim Lewis, CMD Corp.:Our LEAN initiatives have helped us conserve in many areas to reduce the energy used in manufacturing, shipping and other processes. Changes in controls platforms have saved on the number of parts used in some models, with resultant energy conservation.
Q: HOW DOES YOUR GREEN INITIATIVE AFFECT YOUR BOTTOM LINE?Hanrahan:Our bottom line is entirely dependent on green business. For our customers we offer systems that enable profitable recycling. For recycling programs to be effective they must have a positive impact on our customers’ bottom lines.
Johnson:Cyrel FAST plates allow for increased platemaking productivity. Cyrel FAST plates are ready in less than an hour, compared to three hours for solvent plates. They are uniform in caliper, allowing them to run at higher press speeds with less impression. Since they have not been processed in solvents, they are generally more robust, and have excellent wear characteristics.
Lewis:The CMD Technology Center continually invests resources in product development, including projects to enhance the efficiency and process reliability of our bag and pouch making equipment. New, compact equipment designs have been introduced that save on floor space, shipping costs and energy used, while maintaining the highest speeds in the industry. Generally, the savings CMD realizes as a result of new technology, green initiatives and other conservation efforts is funneled back into productdevelopment as part of our continuing innovation process.
Q: WHAT OTHER ‘GREEN' INITIATIVES MIGHT YOUR COMPANY BE IMPLEMENTING WITHIN THE NEXT SIX TO 12 MONTHS?Lewis:CMD actively partners with industry associates to test new film blends, including renewable and compostable films; we will continue to do so over the next six to 12 months. Sealing and web handling technologies are being evaluated to be certain our customers have a high-speed, high-performance choice for converting the newest film blends and gauges.
Hanrahan:Thanks to fluctuating resin prices and local green initiatives, many of our customers are expanding their recycling programs to add postconsumer and offsite-generated industrial scrap to the traditional recycling of in-house generated material. More and more, we are seeing our systems at work in commercial recycling operations. The days of plastic scrap being simply waste are over. Plastic scrap is a valuable commodity and any plastics operation that does not include a recycling system is simply giving away valuable material.
Johnson:DuPont is investing in the next generation of thermal technology to meet the industry's broader needs.
Recycling made easyPoly-Pak Industries’ has a new environmental packaging program designedto help retailers become more environmentally responsible. The “It’s Easy Being Green” program includes a selection of environmentally responsible bags as well as the “Bring It Back” recycling system, inspired by the Progressive Bag Alliance and featuring the group’s signature logo. This program is part of a broader commitment by Poly-Pak to facilitate increased plastic bag recycling rates around the nation.
Poly-Pak’s new program is one of the first of its kind, offering non-foodretailers, like large department stores and independent retailers outside thegrocery industry, a broad selection of bag options and the simple end-to-end
“Bring It Back” recycling kit. Each kit includes a large or small size collectionbin, attractive signage and recyclable pouches to send the collected bags back tothe company’s recycling center. The collected bags are recycled into compositedecking, plastic fencing and trash bags.
“Communities around the nation are looking to be more responsible and plastic retail bags have been a popular area of discussion,” says Ken Trottere of Poly-Pak. “We are responding to the needs of our customers by expanding our product offering and including an easy-to-deploy recycling system.”
“Bring It Back” kits are currently available nationwide. The cost of recyclingthe collected waste is paid for by Poly-Pak Industries.