In 2008, employees at the North Carolina facility established Team Green, aimed at cutting landfill waste in half and implementing a plant-wide recycling program. All plant waste streams were audited and evaluated for potential opportunities, using reduction, reuse and recycling to determine the best solution for landfill diversion, including changing landfill pick-up to an on-call basis. Additionally, Team Green focused on controlling utility and water usage through assessment and reduction activities, and began diverting salvageable metal to recycling outlets instead of storing or landfilling it.
Recycling containers were placed in all common areas, and employees were encouraged to bring in their recyclables from home as well. The team even set up an employee recycling fund, paid out once yearly, where all funds collected from recycling of plastic cans, aluminum bottles, office paper and plastic bags are divided evenly between all employees.
"The Winston Salem group has shown a real dedication towards reducing waste to landfill and increasing recycling," said Ray Howard, general manager, Sonoco Recycling. "Currently, they're recycling approximately 98 percent of their materials and we applaud them for their efforts."
Duncan Sullivan, Sustainability and Special Projects, said, "Our facility is the second Sonoco CorrFlex location to win a Star award. While it's been very rewarding for the team to see our facility reach silver-tier status, our York, Pa., facility went landfill-free last year, and we're working to join them by the end of 2012."
As a result of these initiatives, Team Green was invited to partner with one of the facility's largest customers, PepsiCo's Frito-Lay business, in ongoing Resource Conservation activity, and was recognized at its global sustainability summit for creating a best-in-class culture for RECON performance.
Created to recognize customer and Sonoco facilities for achieving significant milestones in landfill diversion and waste stream reduction, the program is composed of three tiers:
Gold Star Awards, which recognize facilities that have achieved 99 percent landfill diversion;
Silver Star Recognition, which is awarded to facilities achieving 95 percent landfill diversion; and
Bronze Awards, which recognize facilities that have made significant waste reduction achievements.
A recycling leader with 50 locations and expertise worldwide, Sonoco Recycling annually collects approximately 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 six material recovery facilities (MRFs) and serves nearly 150 communities in which curbside-collected residential and commercial materials are processed. The Company also provides recycling programs which identify waste reduction opportunities that reduce operating expenses for many of the largest consumer product companies in the U.S.