The standardization of methods, materials and practices in the plastics recycling industry has been a continuing quest, but two firms feel they have reached the promised land. The two - B&M Plastics Inc. of Mount Vernon, Ind., and Desbro Polymers Ltd. of Toronto - have received ISO 9002 certification for their recycling firms.
The companies received certification from the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization. They are the first North American recyclers, so far as either knows, to gain the ISO designation, a widely accepted measure of quality and efficiency in business.
``The process took us about a year to achieve,'' said Steve Sennik, president of Desbro. ``We had to make some changes, mostly in the area of administration, and the way information was reported around the company. But doing that gave us a stronger company.''
In business for five years, Desbro bulk blends, grinds, cleans and extrudes high density polyethylene and other plastics in a 17,000-square-foot plant in Toronto. Its one recycling line handles about 12 million pounds of scrap per year.
``There definitely has been an increase in productivity since we put in the standards,'' said Nonie Daniels, communications coordinator for B&M. ``It really has helped in terms of making different people on different shifts, doing things differently get to the same page.''
B&M does toll compounding, grinding, cleaning and extrusion at its Mount Vernon plant, and has full laboratory services, which also received ISO certification.
``The laboratory certification has made it possible for the customer to send us only a small amount of material for us to test and to mix to their specifications, instead of the whole load,'' Daniels said. ``That means we can work out all the problems first and then just apply the documentation to the larger load when it comes.''
B&M operates another recycling company, B&M Plastics of New York Inc., in Schenectedy.
``The documentation responsibilities are key,'' said Desbro's Sennik. ``I found that a lot of things were ending up on my desk, from having to order more hydraulic fluid to making new deals, and this gives me the chance to concentrate on development and building the company.''
Desbro opened a new, 25,000-square-foot plant in Toronto to recycle engineering automotive plastics. The site has one complete line, and will be handling fascias, dashboards, instrument panels and other parts from dismantled autos for General Motors Corp.
``The ISO really helped with the automotive business,'' he said. ``Especially because the need to eliminate cross-contamination between parts and resin types with the engineering grades.''