Product distributor Curbell Inc. is making it known that plastics production can be environment-friendly and sustainable.
The Orchard Park, N.Y., firm is on a journey that began in 2006 to implement sustainability across all units of the company. Minimizing waste and conserving energy are not just feel-good phrases, but meaningful actions that make a difference, officials said.
The company's units include Curbell Plastics Inc. and Curbell Electronics, through which it does injection molding. Its primary business is supplying sheet, rod, tubing, films, adhesives, sealants, tapes, prototyping materials and fabricated parts.
The plastics industry has been under fire tremendously of late because plastics is being considered a major contributor to pollution, said Mark Shriver, Curbell's environmental health and safety manager, in an April 14 telephone interview.
I looked at this really hard. I'm an environmental guy. Plastic doesn't pollute. Plastic isn't the problem. It's people. We're a plastics company. We're under the gun, he said.
Into 2010, with an economy that is so unpredictable, officials at Curbell knew also that where they necessarily couldn't control the outside business environment, they could implement practices that cut operational expenses, thereby increasing profits.
Officials began installing energy-efficient equipment and partnered with service contractors, customers and suppliers on recyclability and sustainability efforts.
Curbell claims to have eliminated the waste it sends to landfills now it recycles almost everything, and it sends the trash it does generate to a waste-to-energy plant.
Previously, Curbell had about a dozen 8-yard dumpsters hauled away per week. Now we're lucky if we have two dumpsters, he said. The reduced truck activity alone has had a positive impact on the environment.
Next, officials are joining with the local community to start an environmental sustainability roundtable so businesses can learn from each other.
I'm an environmentalist, Shriver said. The chairman of the board is an environmentalist. We believe that, from a sustainability perspective, it has to make sense. We cut waste as much as we can in manufacturing and supply chain.
Business sustainability is fundamental, he said.
We know that the plastics industry overall is concerned about its image. We're all doing what we can do. Do we feel we're a leader in sustainability? I think we are.
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