You’ve heard the term batted around in every industrial sector. But, until recently, the general public didn’t hear the term associated with the plastics industry, which was viewed in a less than favorable light by environmentally-conscious folks.
Well, maybe the press didn’t report it, but that hasn’t stopped plastic injection molding companies in Illinois and elsewhere from pressing ahead with their own sustainability efforts. Advantech Plastics is very much a part of that movement, increasing sustainability and decreasing its carbon footprint through five major initiatives:
- decreasing water usage
- decreasing electricity consumption
- decreasing natural gas consumption
- increasing the use of 100% recyclable corrugated boxes
- increasing the use of earth-and-sea-friendly bio-resins
Randy Kenyon, Advantech’s Director of Development, was charged by company CEO Al Zoller to come up with a carbon-reducing game plan.
“We saw immediately some low-hanging fruit that could have a dramatic effect on gas, electric and water usage,” Kenyon says. “It was time we did something about that.”
First up: replace energy-sucking incandescent and shorter-lived florescent lighting with energy-stingy and super long-lasting LED lighting at the company’s two manufacturing plants. LED lighting was installed at the company’s Eastwood facility in July 2019, and at the Dillard Ct. facility in June 2020. Plans call for replacing antiquated light switches with motion-detecting switches in the not-too-distant future.
Also on the horizon: Eliminating water-thirsty sinks, toilets and urinals at the two plants and replacing them with motion-sensitive, automatic-off faucets, low-flush toilets, and no-flush urinals. Then replacing old heating plants with high efficiency furnaces, and leaky, conventional office windows with high-efficient, Low E windows.
As dramatically “green” as those steps are, they pale in comparison to gradually replacing non-biodegradable plastic resins with bio-degradable bio resins in the plastic-injection molding process. AdvanTech is exploring two bio-resins currently (one, algae-based) which have the unique ability to degrade in salt water, should the products made from them ever find their way into the world’s oceans.
“We’re excited by these bio-resins,” Kenyon says. “Stay tuned for some very exciting news on that front in 2021.”