Sonoco facility hits recycling target

Papermaker also announces recycled-content paperboard price hike.

February 25, 2014
Recycling Today Staff

Sonoco Recycling LLC says the Sonoco Display and Packaging Rural Hall, N.C., facility has diverted more than 99 percent of its waste from landfills.

In September 2011, employees at the company’s Rural Hall fulfillment facility formed Team Green to focus on achieving landfill-free status in two years.

In a news release, Sonoco says one of the major challenges was not only staying on top of the fluctuating material mix, but determining the best outlet for each new recyclable material encountered. The team began its recycling program by reviewing, monitoring and restricting access to waste bins. Common recycling areas were set up in production and office areas and employees were encouraged to bring in their recyclables from home. Once this was accomplished, process and procedures were put into place to help collect, distribute and assess new recyclables as they were encountered.

“In just two years, Team Green was able to divert over 99 percent of Rural Hall’s waste through a mix of recycling, reuse and waste-to-energy,” says Rodger Fuller, Sonoco group vice president, Paper and Industrial Converted, North America. “They’ve shown great initiative in achieving landfill-free status.”

Created to recognize customer and Sonoco facilities for achieving significant milestones in landfill diversion and waste stream reduction, the Sustainability Star Award program is composed of three tiers:

  • Gold Star Awards, which recognize facilities that have achieved 99 percent landfill diversion;
  • Silver Star Recognition, which is awarded to facilities achieving 95 percent landfill diversion; and
  • Bronze Awards, which recognize facilities that have made significant waste reduction achievements.

Sonoco Recycling, Hartsville, S.C., operates five material recovery facilities (MRFs) and serves nearly 150 communities in which curbside-collected residential and commercial materials are processed. The company also provides recycling programs that identify waste reduction opportunities that reduce operating expenses for many of the largest consumer product companies in the United States.

Separately, Sonoco’s paperboard-making business unit has announced plans to raise the price for all grades of its uncoated recycled-content paperboard products by $30 per ton, effective with shipments in the United States and Canada starting March 3, 2014.

“The price increase is necessary to recover inflationary pressure on a variety of input costs, including chemicals, freight and especially energy, where we have seen a significant increase over the past several months,” says Marty Pignone, vice president, Primary Materials Group, North America. “In addition, market prices for recovered fiber are beginning to rise due to strained supply resulting from weak generation and severe winter weather.”