This month's Best Practices takes you to Quebec, Canada, and the city of Varennes — home to major geosynthetics manufacturer Solmax International Inc. The company has significantly cut its greenhouse gas emissions, following Canada's goals and using heat generated by its own extruders.
It's a story of a manufacturing company working closely with government.
Solmax claims to be the world's largest geosynthetics maker. A big move came in late 2017, when Solmax bought GSE Environmental Inc., the rival Houston-based geomembrane major.
Now Solmax already has a built-in positive environmental story to tell, just from its liners. The liners are used to protect the soil, water and air from pollutants and toxins. Solmax products are sold in more than 60 countries, from the company's factories in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Most plastics industry people know that geosynthetics are used to line and cap-off solid waste landfills, but these durable products are much more than that. Geosynthetics also are used for hazardous waste disposal sites, mining operations, coal ash containment, the energy sectors of biogas and hydraulic fracturing of natural gas and animal waste containment.
They even are used to line ponds — and at commercial fish and (shades of Forrest Gump) shrimp farming operations.
Geosynthetics often play a behind-the-scenes role in keeping people safe. But now Solmax is adding energy efficiency and climate protection to its story.