Naples, Fla. — Novolex, a major packaging supplier for retail, restaurants and food service, has a sustainability plan and is leveraging the workforce at its 61 facilities and two recycling operations to help tell the story.
At the Plastics News Executive Forum, Adrianne Tipton, senior vice president for innovation, noted the negative media coverage about plastics, including bashing on social media.
"Our employees get nervous and think that their job might not be secure," she said. "So we're trying to do a lot more proactive communication with our employees. We have 10,000 employees, and we want to make sure they can touch five or 10 people and they can communicate about the sustainability of plastics and the good we're doing in the world with that. It actually becomes a pretty big network of people communicating."
Novolex is also launching a smartphone app for employees.
Plastic sheet and bag giant Hilex Poly and affiliated companies changed their name to Novolex in 2014. Novolex brands cover both plastic and paper. As Tipton said, "We became material agnostic."
She said 75 percent of the Hartsville, S.C.-based products go into grocery packaging.
Tipton said Novolex is using 14 percent post-industrial plastics and 6 percent post-consumer. The company wants to use more recycled content because customers are asking for that. And Novolex is boosting its communication.
"We've been doing sustainable products for quite a while, with recycled content and having a bag-to-bag program in our Hilex division. But we actually had never really been overly vocal about it — more, I would say, on the defensive than on the offensive in the past several years. But in the past two years, we've really tried to be more proactive in communicating our sustainability platform to our customers and outwardly to consumers," Tipton said.
Novolex produced its first sustainability report for 2018.
"And it really is our focus and how we try to organize ourselves around souring materials, design and manufacturing and then the end-of-life materials," she said.