Seven Sustainability Goals for Thermoforming

by Todd McDonald on August 22, 2016

Environmentally-friendly, natural, organic, green, recycling… These are just a few common interpretations of the word sustainability. But what does it really mean? The EPA defines sustainability as the creation and maintenance of the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations. In other words, sustainability goes well beyond simply setting out recycling bins, shutting down computers at the end of the workday or using “green” raw materials for manufacturing products.

At TEQ we couldn’t agree more.

Which is why we focus on seven key areas when it comes to our sustainability goals, ranging from energy consumption and operational efficiencies to community involvement.

Some examples of our efforts to date in each of these key areas include:

1. Materials

  • Providing material recommendations to help companies successfully replace current packaging materials with renewable, sustainable, biodegradable and recycled/post-consumer plastics
  • Introducing TEQethyleneTM and TEQconnexTM as more recyclable alternatives for sterile barrier systems used by medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • Implementing an improvement initiative to increase material yields

2. Supply Chain

  • Building and managing streamlined supply chain workflows design to:
    • Reduce waste
    • Decrease transportation costs
    • Reduce overall environmental impact

3. Shipping

  • Installing increased height stretch wrapper to cube out truck trailers
  • Implementing hand loading export containers to maximize container load
  • Utilizing rail transport for long distance shipments

4. Recycling

  • Implementing programs to recycle:
    • All household waste (plastic bottle/aluminum cans)
    • All plastic from manufacturing process
    • All corrugate waste
    • All used oil
    • All metal waste generated in tool manufacturing
    • All scrap wood pallets
    • Roll cores
  • Implementing programs to re-use corrugate cartons with injection molding suppliers
  • Implementing programs to return/re-use pallets with extruders
  • Implementing reusable Gaylord program with select customers

5. Energy / Water Usage

  • Replacing hydraulic/pneumatic machines with electric servo power machines
  • Implementing variable speed screw air compressors
  • Implementing high efficiency HVAC systems and designing a controlled environment with positive air flow to cool/heat adjacent areas
  • Installing variable speed screw compressors
  • Replacing lower efficiency fluorescent/halogen lighting with high efficiency fluorescent lighting and LED lighting in production/warehouse areas
  • Installing motion controlled lighting implemented in warehouses and washrooms
  • Installing Energy Star rated roof projected to provide 5 – 10% HVAC energy savings
  • Implementing closed-loop cooling systems for waste water

6. Hazardous Waste / Emissions

  • Replacing most hazardous materials with FDA grade chemicals=
  • Discontinuing the use of Propylene Glycol
  • Ensuring air emissions are negligible as calculated by the IEPA

7. Local

  • Purchasing pallets from local suppliers
  • Purchasing cartons from local suppliers
  • Ensuring that a majority of raw material suppliers are located within 180 mile radius
  • Establishing partnerships with local companies for flexible packaging, printed cartons and contract packaging
  • Utilizing of local logistics providers when practical
  • Purchasing of injection molded parts used in assemblies from local suppliers
  • Sharing of resources with the community (Parking Areas, etc.)
  • Using local employment agencies
  • Participating in local job fairs
  • Utilizing of interns from local schools

What about you? How does your company or business define and work torwards their sustainability goals?

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