Using Less To Make Foodservice Products
Reduce is the first of the three R's in the phrase "Reduce, Reuse & Recycle". It is doing the same, or in some cases more, with less. The EPA estimates that 55 million tons of municipal solid waste was source reduced in the United States in 2000. They also go on to state that using less material in the manufacture of items will dramatically decrease waste. In 1977 the average 2 liter soda bottle weighed 68 grams. Today the average is 58 grams which means that 250 million pounds of plastic has been kept out of the waste stream.
At Genpak, we firmly believe that source reduction is a viable piece of the "green products" puzzle. As the statistics from the EPA suggests, it is an excellent way to reduce the amount of raw material resources needed to produce products. Our Smart Set Pro line of "textured" polypropylene bases fit right into this category. These unique microwave safe products are on average, 24% lighter than they would be if they were made with standard, solid polypropylene material. Keep in mind that these products were made from our revolutionary, textured polypropylene material that enabled us to manufacture the part lighter, without compromising product quality or integrity of the product. To date we have successfully Source Reduced 2.3 million pounds of polypropylene by using our special textured material.
Other techniques we have incorporated is to utilize an organic filler to select impact plastic products. This filler does not impede the performance of the parts and allows us to use less raw materials. Our numbers are not as dramatic as the polypropylene savings, but it is a solid start. For 2008 we have saved several hundred pounds of polystyrene by utilizing this source reduction technique.
At Genpak, we view Source Reduction as more than ways to produce lighter parts. When we design new products, some of our main goals are to maximize strength, sheet utilization with a decreased case cube, all of which makes us a very efficient manufacturer. An excellent example of a decreased cube part is with our popular SN200 & SN203 foam hinged containers. The design of these parts allowed us to achieve a smaller overall cube by .6 when compared to our competitors large foam hinged take out container. At first glance that does not seem very impressive. But when you consider the total number of cases shipped on these two popular items, it translates to a total savings of 375 trucks just this year alone. In other words, it takes Genpak 375 less tractor trailer loads to ship the same number of cases as it would our competitor. That translates to over 740 truckloads and 85,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.
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