Manufacturing company Freudenberg North America has pledged to reach zero-manufacturing waste from its 16 companies’ North American facilities over the next decade.
The plants will focus on recycled product content, plant recycling, lower water and energy consumption and increased use of sustainable materials, the company says.
The companies were challenged to reach the zero-waste goal by parent corporation Freudenberg and Co. during a recent internal forum on raw materials and innovation. Freudenburg says that the trends driving its business today mandate this kind of response if it is to maintain long-term growth and profitability. The parent company has previously, and successfully, challenged its manufacturing facilities to achieve zero defects and zero accidents.
The environmental initiatives that Freudenberg North America companies are currently pursuing include the production of LutradurECO, a polyester industrial backing used in building and construction substrates, landscaping materials and wallpaper and carpet backings. The material, which is made using post consumer and post industrial recycled plastic, is manufactured in a “closed-loop” system in plants that reuse all of their material scrap.
Freudenberg Household Products manufactures recycled household and institutional cleaning products, including recycled broom fibers. Freudenberg Texbond, based in Macon, Ga., recycles more than 1 million plastic drink bottles a day in production of its nonwoven roofing membrane and building materials.
The trend for zero-waste-to-landfill manufacturing has been gathering pace recently. In April, paper company SCA announced its first zero-waste-to-landfill manufacturing plant in North America. The plant, in Bowling Green, Ky., manufactures SCA’s Tena line of incontinence products and currently has programs in place to recycle 90 percent of its waste.
SCA’s zero-waste-to-landfill recycling program consists of segregating manufacturing, office, distribution and maintenance waste into three basic categories: combined recyclable materials, compostable materials and engineered fuel.
In February, candy company Hershey announced that three of its manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania have achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status by eliminating waste, recycling and converting waste to energy. Two of the facilities are in Hershey, Pa., and the third is in Hazleton, Pa. The plants recycle approximately 90 percent of the waste generated from operations, and the remainder is converted to energy at nearby waste-to-energy incinerators.