HARTSVILLE, S.C., May 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sonoco Recycling, LLC, a unit of Sonoco (NYSE: SON) and one of the largest packaging recyclers in North America, today announced that Sonoco CorrFlex's Rural Hall,N.C., facility has successfully diverted over 95 percent of its waste to landfill. The plant is the second CorrFlex facility to receive a silver-tier Star Award.
In September 2011, employees at Sonoco CorrFlex's Rural Hall, N.C., fulfillment facility formed Team Green, focused on achieving landfill-free status in two years. Since the plant is a fulfillment facility, its materials mix frequently changes based on the current customer and project. One of the major challenges for the team was staying on top of the flux of materials and determining the best outlet for each. To better understand their current program, the team began tracking landfill and recycling tonnage. Dumpster contents were monitored, assessing those areas that needed work to reduce the plant's landfill tonnage. Common recycling areas were set up in production and office areas, and employees were encouraged to bring in their recyclables from home.
The constant change within the temporary work force at Rural Hall posed another challenge for Team Green when implementing a shift in the plant's recycling culture, as the personnel within the work force changes daily and many are non-English speakers. By working closely with the plant's temporary staffing agency and using bilingual labeling, Team Green was able to overcome many recycling issues.
"In just eight months, Team Green was able to divert over 95 percent of Rural Hall's waste through a mix of recycling, reuse and waste-to-energy," said Harris DeLoach III, Sonoco Recycling representative for the Rural Hall facility.
A strong component of Rural Hall's recycling program is the initiative to reuse articles that aren't recyclable, or are difficult to recycle. Many old inventory items such as bags or boxes, previously slated as waste, are now distributed among employees. This initiative also includes items that can be reused by local non-profit organizations. Used work gloves, scrap bubble wrap and other items that were once thrown away now benefit non-profit educational programs within the community. Used computers, printers and other inventory items are donated to public schools in need of supplies for art or learning.
Additionally, management agreed to set up an Employee Recycling Account to collect funds from the new programs. The account is split at the end of the year among all permanent employees.
Created to recognize customer and Sonoco facilities for achieving significant milestones in landfill diversion and waste stream reduction, the Sonoco Sustainability Star Award program is composed of three tiers:
- Gold Star Awards, which recognize facilities that have achieved 99 percent landfill diversion;
- Silver Star Awards, which are given to facilities achieving 95 percent landfill diversion; and
- Bronze Awards, which recognize facilities that have made significant waste reduction achievements.
Learn more about our Sonoco Sustainability Star Award program at http://www.sonoco.com/productsservices/sonocorecycling/sustainabilitystarawards.aspx.
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.
Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of a variety of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging and packaging supply chain services. With annualized net sales of approximately $4.5 billion, the Company has more than 19,600 employees working in 349 operations in 34 countries, serving some of the world's best known brands in some 85 nations. Sonoco is a proud member of the 2011/2012 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. For more information on the Company, visit our website at www.sonoco.com.