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Pratt Industries: Growing Employer Saves 70,000 Trees Daily

  • May 1, 2017

Three of the last four paper mills built in the United States have been by the same company – Pratt Industries. Based in Conyers, Georgia, Pratt is the nation’s fifth-largest corrugated box manufacturer. The company has facilities in 25 states and employs 7,000 Americans.

The growth of e-commerce has led to increased demand for paper-based packaging. A second factor pertains to the environment. Because corrugated paper can be recycled, it is sometimes favored over plastic packaging. According to Pratt Industries, their recycling efforts save the equivalent of 70,000 trees each day.

The company is a member of the American Forest & Paper Association, whose Responsible Package Initiative is raising awareness that paper-derived packaging is renewable, reusable and economical.

Act Global: Company Sells Environmentally Responsible Synthetic Turf in 70 Countries

  • April 20, 2015

Synthetic turf has become a popular alternative to traditional grass at sports stadiums, practice fields, playgrounds, and in other landscape settings. Its advantages are compelling: Quality playing surfaces; low maintenance; as well as resistance to wear and adverse weather.

Another major advantage is consistence with water-conservation goals. Many parts of the world, and of the United States, are enacting regulations concerning water use. Even in areas without such regulations, those wishing to be good stewards of the economy are often choosing synthetic turf, rather than natural turfs that require constant watering.

Synthetic turf has come a long way since its first use at the AstroDome in 1966. Today’s third-generation synthetic turf products from companies like industry leader Act Global have advanced designs, and use state-of-the-art UV inhibitors that withstand tough environmental conditions.  

Many projects employ crumb rubber infill, which is made of recycled tires. For an excellent example of high-quality crumb rubber infill, see the Great Manufacturing Story on Liberty Tire Recycling.

Act Global, which is based in Texas, is one of the world’s largest artificial turf companies. They manufacture synthetic turf products on three continents. Moreover, they have served companies in 70 countries and counting. Their installations are FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) certified, signifying optimal, world-class quality. Act Global points to its research and development, coupled with its product quality and customer service, as reasons for its successful growth.

The company also emphasizes good citizenship by supporting world aid organizations, contributing to disaster relief, and supporting other worthy charities. As stated on Act Global’s web site, “We believe that it is our responsibility and privilege as a company to give back.”

Liberty Tire Recycling: Reclaiming 140 Million Tires Per Year for Healthier, More Scenic Communities

  • April 15, 2015

The American countryside is becoming more scenic, thanks to companies that are working with local communities to rid their land of abandoned tires. Liberty Tire Recycling is the nation’s largest tire recycler, collecting an astounding total of 140 million tires each year, or about one-third of all scrap tires. That makes them the largest tire recycler in the country.

Reclaimed tires are processed and refined for alternative clean-rubber uses. Some are used by civil engineers as a substitute for stone aggregates. Some become feedstock for manufacturers, or as fuel to power kilns and mills, while others go into the manufacture of adhesives.

At five Liberty Tire plants, tires are converted to crumb rubber, which is often used in rubberized asphalt highways that resist cracking, improve nighttime visibility, and reduce noise. Crumb rubber is often used with synthetic turf (see the Great Manufacturing Story about Act Global), which is used for sports fields at the high school, college and professional levels, as well as playgrounds. Crumb rubber also goes into products like welcome mats and synthetic railroad ties. All of these uses encourage conservation.

Abandoned tires pose an environmental hazard (through chemical runoff) and a health risk, in addition to being an eyesore. By attracting mosquitoes and vermin, they can be a breeding ground for West Nile Virus. Liberty Tire partners with communities and property owners to address the problem. The firm has remediated 150 existing dump sites over seven years in Georgia, New York, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina, according to the company.

Liberty Tire is based in Pittsburgh, and has facilities in convenient locations around North America. Total employment is about 1,100 workers.  

Given the growing public recognition of the importance of conservation and recycling, and the wide variety of applications for clean, reclaimed rubber, demand for the services of Liberty Tire and other recyclers is expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

ExxonMobil: Jobs, Investment, and Waste-to-Energy Conversion at One of World's Top Petrochemical Hubs

  • February 6, 2014

One of the world’s largest and most integrated petrochemical hubs can be found around Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In fact, ExxonMobil’s operations there include a refinery, chemical plant, plastics plant, resins facility, and polyolefins plant, plus a lubricants facility across the river in Port Allen. Together, the company’s local operations produce 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline and billions of pounds of petrochemical products every year.

Not surprisingly, ExxonMobil is the largest manufacturing employer in the state, with more than 5,000 employees and contractors. The Louisiana economy also benefits from 41,500 jobs supported indirectly by the company’s operations.

Between 2010 and 2013, ExxonMobil made nearly $1 billion in capital investments in Louisiana, according to Paul Stratford, manager of its Baton Rouge chemical plant. Such investments are necessary to ensure that the company remains in a position to respond to the needs of its customers. For example, ExxonMobil is now investing $215 million, split between a synthetic lubricants project in the chemical plant, and a center for manufacturing, blending, and distributing synthetic aviation oil in Port Allen.

The polyoelfins plant is noteworthy from a waste-to-energy perspective. In 1998, ExxonMobil purchased the plant, which produces high-density polyethylene and polypropylene used in making containers for food, shampoo, and detergents, as well as carpet backing, diapers, hospital gowns, automotive fuel tanks, hula hoops, shipping pallets and non-corrosive fuel tanks. The plant was one of the industry’s first to achieve ISO 9000 status.

The manufacturing process there uses steam produced by three boilers, which historically were fueled only by natural gas. Today, methane from a local landfill supplies 90 percent of the energy needed to operate one of the three boilers. Using this “waste gas” to provide energy at ExxonMobil and a second company, Novolyte, instead of burning the gas, is the equivalent, in terms of CO2 reduction, of removing 59,000 cars from the roads, according to local officials. That is a significant environmental benefit, thanks to the waste-to-energy project, which was implemented without any direct investment of taxpayer funds, after two years of R&D and an investment of $1.8 million by ExxonMobil.

Therein lies a Great Manufacturing Story of jobs, capital investment, and emissions reductions. For more great stories, click here.  

Maze Eco-Nails: Resilience and Environmental Responsibility

  • November 6, 2013

In the riverfront city of Peru, Illinois, they have been manufacturing nails and spikes since the 1890s. That’s when the owners of a local lumber yard, the Maze family, discovered that adding zinc to roofing nails made them long-lasting and rust-proof.

Today, Maze Eco-Nails is one of the few manufacturers of nails in the U.S. Their story of success is built around innovation and environmental stewardship. They pioneered the automated hot-dip galvanization process for their Storm-Guard nails; developed spiral-shank and ring-shank threading to improve the holding power of nails; and introduced new nails designed for siding and fencing.

Maze manufactures its nails using 100% recycled steel, requiring no additional mining. They convert harmful, spent acids into useful raw materials.  Waste zinc is recycled into materials that go into products like tires and paint pigments. And all of the company’s nails come in cardboard boxes made from recycled paper. Their nails are an environmentally preferred product as defined by the US Green Building Council.

So the next time you pick up a box of Maze Eco-Nails in the hardware store, remember that it’s a Great Manufacturing Story, too.

Procter & Gamble: How They Achieved Zero Waste at 45 Manufacturing Plants

  • October 1, 2013

Zero waste to landfill. Think about that for a moment. Cincinnati-based P&G, one of the world’s largest manufacturers, is now using, recycling or repurposing 100 percent of the materials that enter 45 of its manufacturing facilities.

The examples of creative uses are many: In Mexico, sludge from a toilet paper factory is used to make roof tiles. In Budapest, rejected feminine care products go into the production of cement, instead of being deposited in landfills. Scraps from feminine care products now go into the soles of low-cost shoes. Waste left over from the manufacturing of shampoo is now used to make fertilizer. Wood scraps go into particle board.

Back in 2007, the company formed a Global Assets Recovery Purchasing (GARP) team with the mission of looking at waste as something that can be used for a different purpose. The team members are, for the most part, procurement specialists who see waste minimization as a business opportunity. Company-wide, only 1 percent of materials entering plants end up in landfills. In March 2013, P&G was able to make the zero-waste announcement about 45 of its plants.    

Globally, 4.6 billion people – more than half of the world’s population -- use P&G products. P&G is making amazing strides in waste reduction in their plants, and now has its eyes set on helping its customers reduce waste as well. By any definition, that is a Great Manufacturing Story.