Using some recycled plastic to make new trash carts is nothing new, but Toter Inc. says the company is the first to market using only recycled resin.
The Statesville, N.C.-based company is touting its new EVR-Green line of garbage carts as the industry's first to rely completely on both post-consumer and post-industrial recycled polyethylene, both medium and low density varieties.
Development of the EVR-Green cart line, which comes in 32-, 48-, 64- and 96-gallon capacities, grew out of a life cycle analysis of Toter products, explained Kristin Kinder, vice president of research and waste stream sustainability. What the company found was that resin accounts for 61 percent of a trash cart's carbon footprint.
Toter, a subsidiary of Wastequip LLC, has committed to reducing virgin resin use by 25 percent across manufacturing operations through an effort known as Project25, a move that's expected to cut Toter's carbon footprint by at least 9 percent. EVR-Green carts, with 100 percent recycled content, are part of that overall effort.
"That was the most logical, impactful place to start. So we set our goal to reduce virgin resin that we manufacture with over our entire manufacturing by 25 percent without compromising the durability of our products because that also has an environmental impact," Kinder said.
"Climate change measured by carbon emissions is really emerging as one of the most important things the business can focus on for the planet," Kinder said. "Doing the right thing for our planet and our people is also the right thing for our business. And all of those things can thrive together."
Toter said that while EVR-Green cart bodies are 100 percent recycled content, the mix between post-consumer and post-industrial content will be determined on an order-by-order basis, depending on where the company sources recycled resin at any given time.
"We want to have a little bit of flexibility in that. But we're offering traceability," Kinder said. "We'll be able to let our customers know the percentage of PCR and the percentage of PIR in their specific product.
"This is a great product to bring our former carts back into. I think we can assume that some of the material will be coming from our expired carts," she said.
"The way that we see it is that virgin resin is really where the greatest environmental impact comes from. The most important thing we can do is drive that down," Kinder said.
Toter, prior to the introduction of EVR-Green, offered carts containing up to 50 percent recycled content.
The company also indicated that EVR-Green cart lids and wheels currently contain some recycled resin, and the company is working to transition those components to 100 percent recycled resin in the future.
"What we learned from that is that over 60 percent of the emissions that come from a Toter cart's carbon footprint is in the resin," Kinder said. "Thinking more creatively about resin and driving down the virgin resin that we manufacture with is the most important thing we can do."
Along with sourcing recycled resin from outside the company, Toter will reprocess its own manufacturing waste into the new EVR-Green carts.
Toter worked to create new 100 percent recycled cart bodies that would maintain the company's 12-year warranty. That was important because creating a fully recycled cart body that would not last as long as other carts ultimately would impact the life cycle of the product. Fewer years at the curb means a higher environmental impact for the product.
Toter uses rotational molding to create the EVR-Green cart. Director of Product Management Nick Daddabbo said manufacturing could take place at company locations in Statesville or Acuña, Mexico. He declined to comment on any potential price differences between the new EVR-Green line and other Toter carts.
Using recycled resin in trash carts diverts plenty of reclaimed resin for long-term use. The smallest EVR-Green cart with a capacity of 32 gallons uses 14.25 pounds of plastic for the body. The number increases to 16.25 pounds for the 48-gallon cart, 20 pounds for the 64-gallon model and 26 pounds for the 96-gallon model, Toter said.
EVR-Green, pronounced evergreen, carts weigh the same as the company's more traditional products.