Cumberland Sustainability

Plastics Processors And Recyclers Mitigate Potential For Global Warming And Meet Sustainability Goals Using Cumberland Granulators

Cumberland Granulators helped its customers quantify the reduction of global warming potential (GWP) as a result of their operations at their plants, and help them meet or exceed their company sustainability goals.

Cumberland has worked with plastics manufacturing and post-consumer plastics recyclers to identify specific net benefits that grinding and reusing plastic scrap has had on their operations.  These improvements are significant and include reductions in GWP, a key goal for companies in their efforts to improve sustainability at their facilities.

Identifying Sustainability Goals

Sustainability is a term that is used extensively these days, especially in the plastics industry. Processors and recyclers are under increased pressure to show stakeholders and customers how they are working to be environmentally responsible.  “Sustainability is much more than a buzzword,” said Andre Adams, Senior Product Manager at Cumberland.   “Companies in the plastics industry realize that their future success depends largely on being environmentally responsible and contributing to a circular economy.”

Cumberland granulators are used widely throughout the plastics industry to regrind plastics scrap.  These granulators work for all sizes and shapes of plastic parts and are an integral part of many closed-loop plastics operations.  “Our machinery is used every day to help processors reclaim and reuse their scrap plastic,” said Adams.  “But we wanted to take this a step further.  We asked ourselves ‘how can we quantify the direct effect on how grinding and recycling scrap plastics helps the environment as opposed to using additional virgin resin or filling a local landfill with scrap’?”

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

After research, it was determined that it would be possible to directly quantify net Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reductions – specifically, how many tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2 eq.) that are avoided by reclaiming material back into the plastics manufacturing and recycling processes.  Cumberland set out to work with Teel Plastics and KW Plastics to identify this.

 

“We have numerous injection molding and extrusion lines here,” said Christian Herrild, Director of Growth Strategies and In-House Counsel at Teel Plastics.  “We had recently converted our operation to use Cumberland FX Series Beside-the-Press Granulators as opposed to an exclusive single central granulating room.  This produced some great results for us. We reduced our lost regrind material, saved on labor and realized up to $300,000 in material savings per year.  When Cumberland asked us to work with them to take this a step further and try to identify GHG emissions savings, we were happy to help.”

Cumberland also approached KW Plastics to help them with their mission to promote the benefits of recycling plastics. KW Plastics, who is the world’s largest plastics recycler, began working with Cumberland over 30 years ago and uses Cumberland 62B Heavy Duty Granulators at their plant to help recycle post-consumer HDPE and PP materials.  It’s a harsh environment for machinery and a challenging process.  “Post-consumer plastics have a lot of dirt and contaminants in the material,” said Scott Saunders, General Manager of KW Plastics.  “With Cumberland’s help we pioneered wet granulation, which enhanced the process to help us successfully recycle high volumes of materials.”

Adams constructed a model of the manufacturing and recycling processes for Teel Plastics and KW Plastics.  Using sources including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Franklin Associates, key data showed that on average:

Teel Plastics has mitigated CO2 eq. potential by up to 11,000 tons per year on average for that particular production line by using regrind and reusing materials back into their process (vs. using the equivalent amount of virgin material).  This is the equivalent of eliminating the emissions from over 2,195 passenger vehicles per year;

 

 

 

KW Plastics has mitigated CO2 eq. potential by up to 75,000 tons per year on average for one line by recycling materials (vs. manufacturing new virgin materials). This is the equivalent of eliminating the emissions from 15,000 passenger vehicles per year.

“We encourage plastics industry processors and recyclers to take a look at this data, and to contact us if they would like some help in analyzing their current operations,” said Adams.  “Through the use of Cumberland size reduction equipment, we can help plastics manufacturers and recyclers identify ways to increase internal recycling, help companies mitigate their Global Warming Impact and meet their sustainability goals. All while helping them save money and improve their operations.”

Case studies that provide more detailed information on Cumberland’s work with Teel Plastics and KW Plastics are available at the following links:

 

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