Sonoco, one of the largest diversified packaging companies, has granted Sonoco Sustainability Star Awards to seven plants across North America for successful and exemplary efforts to reduce their waste to landfill and implement sustainability-oriented processes. Administered by Sonoco Recycling, the Sonoco Sustainability Star Awards program is comprised of three tiers. Gold awards recognize facilities that have achieved 99 percent landfill diversion; silver awards honor facilities achieving 95 percent landfill diversion; and bronze awards distinguish facilities that have made significant waste reduction achievements, such as drastically reducing their waste streams or implementing a new composting system.
Star Awards were granted to the following facilities:
– Dillons Jackson Dairy, Hutchinson, Kan. (Gold)
– Sonoco Display and Packaging, Bolingbrook, Ill. (Silver)
– Sonoco Paper, Brantford, Ontario (Bronze)
– Sonoco Plastics, Addison, Ill. (Bronze)
– Sonoco Plastics, Forest City, N.C. (Bronze)
– Sonoco Plastics, Waynesville, N.C. (Bronze)
– Sonoco Protective Solutions, New Bern, N.C. (Silver)
“We’re incredibly proud of the progress made by Jackson Dairy and by these six Sonoco facilities,” said Mike Pope, commercial director, Sonoco Recycling. “Their ingenuity and commitment have produced great results that set an example for any manufacturing facility to follow.”
Dillons Jackson Dairy in Hutchinson, Kan., began working with Sonoco Recycling in 2013 with the goal to achieve Zero Waste to Landfill at a reasonable cost. After an initial assessment, the two companies worked together to implement cost-saving and waste-saving measures. Dillons Jackson Dairy now supplies its OCC (old corrugated containers) to Sonoco’s Hutchinson paper mill, promoting recycling and reuse of waste. The facility also implemented new strategies for wastewater removal and waste-to-energy conversion to achieve Zero Waste to Landfill – a particularly challenging goal because of the facility’s rural location. Ultimately, through its partnership with Sonoco, the company was able to go landfill-free and save a substantial amount of money per year on waste management.
Sonoco’s Display and Packaging plant in Bolingbrook, Ill. earned a Silver Award by diverting 95 percent of its waste from landfill. The facility was encouraged and supported by Sonoco Display and Packaging division leadership, who encouraged each plant to commit to significant sustainability progress. The facility now recycles all recyclable materials and even donates some obsolete consumables to further reduce landfill and incineration emissions.
Sonoco Paper in Brantford, Ontario focused on recovering waste streams through reuse rather than sending waste to landfill. The plant augmented this programming with waste-to-energy and other waste diversion tactics. The mill did a commendable job remaining flexible and open to sustainability strategies, ultimately working with two new suppliers to promote reuse and waste to energy while cutting costs.
Sonoco Plastics in Addison, Ill. made significant progress in reducing its waste to landfill by more than half from 2013 to 2014, and has further reduced waste to landfill in 2015. The facility’s education efforts illustrated to staff how much recyclable waste had been going to landfills, resulting in a passionate and committed employee base who dramatically decreased waste to landfill and increased recycling. This behavior change also resulted in significant waste removal cost savings.
Sonoco Plastics in Forest City, N.C. reached Bronze Award status by dramatically increasing its recycling output to Sonoco Recycling as well as another local recycling partner. The facility is on track to reduce its waste to landfill by more than 70 percent year over year. Sonoco Plastics in Waynesville, N.C. greatly reduced its waste to landfill by increasing its OCC and packaging recycling. This increased diversion also significantly reduced waste management costs for the facility. By recognizing the steps they could take to divert more waste to recycling streams, employees were able to own the process and reduce landfill usage by approximately 45 percent.
Sonoco Protective Solutions in New Bern, N.C. worked with an external partner to achieve 95 percent landfill diversion through recycling. Sonoco, which owns the building, scaled these recycling operations so that all building tenants collaborated to achieve this level of landfill diversion for the entire building. Employee engagement, clarity of direction and safety assessments all played an important part in the transition. Employees even reuse fallen pine needles from surrounding trees as mulch for shrubbery and in compost – going above and beyond in their sustainability practices.
A recycling leader with locations and expertise worldwide, Sonoco Recycling annually collects more than 3 million tons of old corrugated containers, various grades of paper, metals and plastics. In addition, the Company has experts who provide secure, reliable and innovative recycling solutions to residential and commercial customers. Currently, Sonoco Recycling operates five material recovery facilities (MRFs) serving more than 125 communities in which curbside-collected residential and commercial materials are processed. The Company also operates recycling programs, which identify waste reduction opportunities that reduce operating expenses for many of the largest consumer product companies in the United States.