Plastic bag maker Novolex increased its use of post-consumer resin in 2021, but an overall jump in business kept the percentage of volume steady year-over-year.
The Hartsville, S.C.-based company is out with a new sustainability report that shows post-consumer content holding steady at 4 percent of raw materials used from 2020 to 2021.
Post-industrial resin use, however, jumped by 4 percent to 24 percent of the company's total use in 2021, while biobased resins increased to 2 percent for 2021 after not being employed by Novolex the previous year.
Novolex considers both manufacturing waste captured from its own facilities as well as material from third-parties when establishing its post-industrial resin usage.
"Novolex facilities have incentives in place that aim to minimize manufacturing waste through source reduction, reuse and recycling programs. Over the past decade, Novolex has invested in and installed multiple internal recycling lines that capture, reprocess and reuse post-industrial material," the company says in the sustainability report.
"As a result, we have made significant progress capturing engineered waste so it can be reused in the manufacturing process and reduce reliance on virgin content."
In addition to plastics, Novolex also has a significant business in paper-based products including bags.
Considering all raw materials used to make new products, the company said its percentage of "renewable, bio-based or PCR [post-consumer] sources" decreased to 48 percent in 2021 from 49 percent the previous year.
"The reduction reflects growth in our other business units, such as our resin-based institutional can liner business, which returned to pre-pandemic levels as offices, arenas and other institutions reopened," the company reports.
Novolex also indicates the company is years ahead in greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts and is setting a new goal.
"We have met our initial target, achieving a 20 percent reduction in GHG emissions per ton of production in 2021. Several factors drove this progress, including investing in efficiency improvements and purchasing renewable energy," the company states.
The original goal was to cut GHG by 20 percent by 2025, but now the company is upping the target to 30 percent by 2030 while continuing to use 2019 emissions as a baseline.
The GHG reduction goals cover both direct emissions, known as Scope 1, as well as indirect emissions from the purchase of electricity, steam, heat and cooling, known as Scope 2.
Regarding personnel, the company reports that 33 percent of employees are women while 67 percent are men.
Women and people of color make up 38 percent of the company's top 60 leaders and 30 percent of plant managers, Novolex also reports.
Most company employees, 8,346, are in the United States, followed by 1,031 in Canada, 545 in Mexico and 290 in the United Kingdom. Another 126 are in Ireland and 50 in the Netherlands.