December 2009 | Volume 3, Issue 4
Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention: The Business of Recycling
Today’s green and sustainable movement has deep roots…the rag merchants, the junkies, entrepreneurs from days gone by. Today’s entrepreneurs in “junk” hold the future of the environment. Everyone, from school kids collecting candy wrappers and soda can tabs, to big business is contributing to this growing enterprise.
New Jersey put the spotlight on recycling when in 1987 it passed the Mandatory Source Separation & Recycling Act that required counties to include recycling in their solid waste management program. This put counties and municipalities in the business of shopping price and suppliers for their new programs.
Recycling involves processing used materials into new products. The success of recycling is dependent on a market for the recycled materials. Entrepreneurs and forward thinking companies have jumped on the bandwagon both as recyclers and in developing new products based on recycled materials, or garbage, as it formerly was known.
Diana Vigilante, solid waste manager for Somerset County spoke to us about her program. “The cost of running a county program can be partially funded by the sale of the materials collected. When there is high demand, the counties do very well and when demand is down, as in this recession, counties must self-fund a greater percent of their programs.” Vigilante is responsible for managing everything from glass, aluminum, steel and paper to hazardous materials including electronic waste. As contracts expire and as markets change, she negotiates the best deal for the goods to benefit the county.
Somerset County deals with many recycling brokers for the sale of goods so it’s very likely the county’s recyclables are showing up in the best places under the “made from recycled materials” label.
High-end supermarkets such as Whole Foods and Kings carry many sustainable or green products from dishwashing liquid to toilet paper. New Jersey’s Marcal has been making its paper products from recycled paper for over fifty years. An “Earth-Friendly Paper Goods Company,” Marcal uses recyclables from more than 600 municipalities from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and New England to create its small steps product line.
Brazilian Designer, Neide Ambrosio creates handbags from soda pop-tops for Novica in association with National Geographic and juice boxes, newspaper and VHS tapes also reappear as handbags. New Jersey’s TerraCycle has given upcycling new meaning. Its products, made from and packaged in recycled materials, range from Frito-Lay speakers and Oreo wrapper backpacks to Deer Repellent in recycled soda bottles.
Although TerraCycle generally upcycles into new products, the company recently partnered with 3M and Scotch Brand tape to create a program to recover and reuse clear plastic tape dispensers and cores. The test program will involve the collection of more than 25,000 dispensers through 1,000 TerraCycle collection programs, called “Brigades.” The Scotch Tape Brigades will collect empty clear plastic tape dispensers and cores and pay two cents per dispenser to a charity of the collector’s choice. The Scotch Brand will then take the items and reuse them for their original purpose.
All of us have encountered recycled aluminum cans in their second life. According to the National Recycling Coalition at least 40 percent of the average aluminum can is made from recycled material. In February 2008, Pepsi Co introduced a “Have We Met Before?” campaign designed to communicate the benefits of recycling aluminum cans. Recycling facts and messages provided by the National Recycling Coalition appeared on 500 million Pepsi cans and 250 million Diet Pepsi cans nationwide – 7.5 billion cans carried the message by the end of the year.
Not only are recycled cans being used for new cans they are reappearing as jewelry.Whether looking for Hello Kitty Red Bull pendants or Diet Pepsi cupcake brooches artisans are helping create markets for recycled products. A number of artists are using tires to create artworks raging from horses and environmental pieces to furniture. The Montclair Art Museum recently added a sculpture from tires to its collection.
The Coca-Cola Company, aware that consumers are looking at products through a sustainability lens, introduced the Live Positively platform and sustainability initiatives. Coke was the first company to commercialize a food or beverage bottle made from recycled plastic. Now the company operates the world’s largest bottle-to-bottle recycling plant. Coca-Cola’s objective is to have 100% of its bottles recycled or reused and produce 100 million pounds of food grade recycled plastic for reuse each year.
Flooring is being recycled and recycled materials are appearing in carpets. The Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) is finding market driven solutions to divert post-consumer carpet from landfills. CARE is a joint industry-government effort to increase the amount of recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet and reduce the amount of waste carpet going to landfills. CARE was established as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding for Carpet Stewardship (MOU), a national agreement signed by members of the carpet industry, representatives of government agencies at the federal, state and local levels, and non-governmental organizations.
Mohawk Carpet’s GreenWorks Center, which has the highest recovery rate in the industry, is unique because it can process all major types of synthetic carpet fiber — Nylon 6, Nylon 6.6, and Polypropylene, approximately 90% of the national post-consumer carpet waste stream. The center processes 100% of the carpet—fiber, backing, and latex—and recovers about 90% of all materials into useable products. The facility is also portable, so it can go to the carpet, which makes recycling more feasible and environmentally efficient.
Whether it’s plastic bottles, aluminum cans, cookie wrappers, tape dispensers or carpet, recycling has become mainstream business.
Industry has always had its “junkies” who picked up scrap metal and other industrial byproducts. Today, in addition to scrap metals, companies can recycle its shrink-wrap, wood chips and other industrial byproducts. The New Jersey WasteWise Business Network is an organization devoted to spreading the WasteWise message to businesses, local government and other organizations in New Jersey. New Jersey headquartered GTI created a Northeast By-product Synergy Group. By-product synergy is the reuse of one company’s waste, or by-product as a raw material or input for another company’s manufacturing process. By-product synergy can lead to significant improvement in a company’s bottom line. The group’s goal is to create a forum for identifying and realizing by-product synergy opportunities.
Absecon Mills’ use of olefin yarns in much of its production represents a mode of manufacturing that not only prevents damage to the environment, but actually helps improve it by utilizing waste products from gasoline manufacturing. It is a byproduct of post-industrial waste and its manufacture produces no waste product.
Many of Absecon Mills’ fabrics and wall coverings are regenerated to produce a variety of durable goods. Its fabrics are sent to a technology center in Georgia and then sent to be converted into inert plastic resin pellets. These pellets offset the need for virgin plastic pellets derived directly from the world oil production flow, thus minimizing environmental impact. The recycled resin can be used in various applications, including: automotive interior and under-the-hood parts; flower pots, synthetic pine straw and weed block fabrics, water filters and filtration fabrics. Absecon Mills’ revolutionary program makes its products green from inception to disposal.
Markets for recyclables are continually being created. Companies are investing in R&D to create new materials from waste and products from the new materials. Consumers are choosing recycled products, even if their price points are higher, and they are committed to recycling themselves. The business of recycling is definitely alive and well and with New Jersey’s incentives to develop green manufacturing, recycling is well on the way to becoming a growth industry.
To learn more about green and sustainable business practices, firstname.lastname@example.org. Put Green in the subject line.
What Looms In The Darkness Does Not Always Foreshadow Failure
Taking Action Can Change The Outcome
So often, when managing a small business, we are so busy “working” we don’t see trouble looming in the shadows. Day to day responsibilities can block the big picture of a company’s financial health. We asked Neil Goldstein of Management Services Consultants, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in crisis management for troubled companies to provide us with a few key indicators that a company is in trouble.
·Accounting discrepancies—the company’s year end financial statement, prepared by the outside accountant, shows significantly lower numbers than your internally prepared accounts.
·Poor cash flow—accounts payable outweigh accounts receivable on an ongoing basis making it difficult to meet payroll or ship orders.
·Inventory is growing at an alarming rate with more new, unsold goods coming in.
·Difficulties with your financial institution—reduced the line of credit, asked for additional collateral, increase in interest rate, recommends taking a second mortgage on your home, advised you to find another lender.
What does all this mean? Goldstein tells us, “Think of the above few examples as a movie trailer where you get a brief view of what is to come. The trailer foreshadows events that will take place when you see the movie. The above “trailer” portends what might occur – a bankruptcy, liquidation, dissolution or the worst, a forced sale to a competitor.”
Before faced with these harsh choices, Goldstein recommends, “Engage a Restructuring Consultant to work with your professionals— your accountant and attorney, or a confidant to analyze the business and offer direction on saving it.”
Implementing changes in an organization’s process can often make the difference in a company’s future. What at one time appeared inevitable—bankruptcy, liquidation, dissolution or a forced sale to a competitor can be replaced with new processes, employee empowerment and innovation, leading to growth and profitability.
For more information on business restructuring email us atManufacturingMatters@njmep.org. Please put Business Restructuring in the subject line.
Things To Look For In 2010
NJMEP Offers New Programs
NJMEP will be offering a number of new workshops in 2010. Whether you are looking for export assistance, information on immigration regulation, energy related issues or NJ Financial Assistance Programs: DOL, EDA, NJMEP can assist.
New Workshops for 2010:
Lean Hospital, Lean Medical Office, Export Assistance, Environmental Regulation and Permitting in NJ, Immigration Regulation, HR Issues, TAAC-Introduction to assistance for businesses impacted by foreign competition, Energy: Availability of Energy Audits, Smart Start – Program Overview / Utility Companies, NJ Financial Assistance Programs: DOL, EDA.
To view the complete 2010 NJMEP Workshop schedule visit our website.
Client News – Clients Provide Insight Into NJDOL Customized Workforce Training Grants
NJMEP clients, Anadigics and Marcal, participated in the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development event, “Training Grants—Financial Resources for NJ Employers.”
The companies participated as panelists in the Technical Workshop on Customized Workforce Training because they received grants to implement training within their organizations.
NJMEP worked with both companies to identify their needs, assist with the grant application and reporting processes, as well as managed the programs. NJMEP also provided trainers with expertise specific to each company’s needs.
Anadigics and Marcal shared their insight into the program and the positive impact the training had on the companies.
Anadigics is a leading worldwide supplier for communications markets. The company designs and manufactures radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) solutions for growing broadband and wireless communications markets.
Marcal is an “Earth-Friendly Paper Goods Company.” For over 50 years, the company has been making its products from recycled paper rather than trees. Marcal is an integral part of the northern New Jersey community. It uses recyclables from more than 600 municipalities from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and New England and is one of the largest employers in New Jersey, employing over 900 people.
If you are interested in more information on customized training please email email@example.com and put Training in the subject line.
Made In New Jersey
NJMEP welcomes thirty-nine manufacturers to our Made in New Jersey webpage. Whether you are looking for eco friendly upholstery fabrics and wall coverings or fiber optics engineering services you can find it in New Jersey. Our listing of New Jersey manufacturers may be the answer to your supplier needs. We look forward to introducing these companies to our readers in 2010.