Recycling makes a big difference

Published 2:53 am Saturday, June 18, 2011

This past April 22, on Earth Day, The Star-News wrote a piece about the community’s efforts to recycle materials such as plastic bottles, aluminum cans and paper goods. I wanted to let you know about several of the initiatives that Shaw Industries has in place on the local level here in Andalusia. Perhaps you can revisit this topic in the near future as an extension to your earlier article. Our one facility produced more than four times as many recyclable materials as what was collected through curbside recycling and at local recycling centers.

• Recycling: Plant 65 is a fiber extrusion facility that produces yarn used to manufacture carpet. Driven by a corporate initiative of sustainability through innovation, associates at Plant 65 take recycling very seriously and help drive our efforts to recycle manufacturing waste within the facility. Our largest recyclable is yarn and yarn pellets. We’re able to take this waste and put it back into the production process, giving Shaw’s fiber recycled content. For 2010, we grouped all of our recycled materials into 25 unique categories ranging from cardboard and scrap metal to pallets, tires and batteries.

As examples, in tons:

Cardboard: 1,784

Bales stretched wrap: 56.8

Scrap metal: 126.9

Plastic bottles: 4

Shredded paper: 4.4

Lift truck batteries: 22.8

In total, Plant 65 collected and facilitated recycling for nearly 16.5 million pounds (8,188 tons) of materials.

• Biodiesel: As The Star-News has reported in the past, Plant 65 uses biodiesel as a fuel alternative. The community has supported our effort to reduce our fossil fuel consumption by helping Plant 65 collect used cooking oil. Receptacles have been established at most grocery stores. Since we began this program in May 2009, Shaw has processed more than 10,000 gallons of biodiesel.

These are a few of the alternatives taking place here. On a global level, Shaw is doing so much more to reduce its environmental footprint. Here are a few highlights:

• Carpet reclamation and recycling: Shaw is the leading flooring manufacturer in post consumer carpet reclamation and recycling. Shaw has a national network of carpet recyclers, which helps us collect used carpet. Carpet is then processed through Evergreen Nylon Recycling Facility, which recycles nearly 100 million pounds of carpet annually. Since 2007, Shaw has recycled more than 400 million pounds of post consumer carpet.

• Energy reclamation: Shaw operates two facilities that use pre and post consumer carpet, as well as wood floor waste, as an energy source to replace fossil fuel boilers. Combined, these facilities consume more than 100 million pounds of waste a year, keeping this carpet from the landfill.

• Eco products: From carpet to hardwood, Shaw offers a wide array of products that contain recycled content, are certified through various third party programs and are recyclable into new products.

If you would like to learn more about our natives here in Andalusia, please give me a call. I will be happy to take you on a tour of our facility and brief you on our efforts to make a difference.

Cary Baker