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Finelite Cuts Waste 84% in 7 Years

Finelite logoFinelite, a manufacturer of high-efficiency lighting systems, cut its waste production by 84 percent between 2005 and 2012 through using reusable packaging, Sustainable Plant reports.

Through such innovations as replacing bubble wrap used to protect products with crinkled paper and so-called lean packaging, the company saved about $27,000 a year in garbage disposal costs, the article says.

The sustainability initiatives also saved Finelite more than $100,000 a year in labor and material savings.

One innovation that the company introduced first was the use of crinkled paper instead of bubble wrap. Finelite found that it provided as much protection for its product as bubble wrap and was easier to recycle. The paper also saved the company $9,000 a year compared to the cost of bubble wrap.

A similar approach was taken with staples that were used to close boxes used to ship products to customers. Finelite replaced the metal staples with paper taper that is also easier to recycle and cheaper. This initiative lowered the company’s costs from $7,400 a year for staples to $4,250 a year for the paper tape.

Other programs focused on Finelite’s supply chain, according to Sustainable Plant. One initiative looked at its linear rack fixtures, which are manufactured by a third-party vendor. Previously, after making the fixtures, the vendor would shink wrap them and ship them to another company for powder coating. The painter would have to strip and dispose of the shrink wrap, paint the fixture, then shrink wrap it again to be shipped to Finelight, which, once again, would have to remove and dispose of the shrink wrap, the article says.

After consultation with the vendors, Finelite had some reusable tight-fitting rubber tarps manufactured to protect the fixtures in transit. Finelite estimates the move is saving it thousands of dollars a year in labor and shrink wrap costs and eliminating 6,000 pounds of shrink wrap from being set to landfill.

In 2011, Finelite won a StopWaste Partnership Leadership Award for its sustainability programs.

Earlier this week, Command Packaging announced plans to build a 124,500-square-foot recycling facility for plastics from the agricultural industry. Encore Recycling, as the new operation will be known, will eventually turn 100 million pounds of agricultural plastic each year into reusable plastic bags, the company says.

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