05 Mar Running a “Green” Packaging Operation
In your own words, what is meant by a sustainable, “green” operation?
In layman’s terms, operating at a high capacity with as little harmful environmental impact as possible. Mathematically it is output/harmful environmental impact. The greater the number the better!
So how does Josh Packaging run a “green” operation?
I would break it down to two things:
1. We run a lean/clean manufacturing system with as little waste as possible.
2. We have implemented internal recycling programs, combined with investing in dedicated machinery, to mitigate hazardous toxins in the environment.
How does Josh Packaging run a lean manufacturing operation?
It’s really a combination of many things. We practice Six Sigma lean manufacturing systems, which were developed by the Japanese in the Toyota factories.
The main initiative with Six Sigma is obtaining complete control of your manufacturing process to increase productivity with as little waste as possible. We also have invested in a tremendous, knowledgeable workforce; and of course, machines. We are constantly upgrading and buying machines, which obviously results in higher output with less waste. To summarize, process, people, and machines are how we accomplish lean manufacturing.
What are some of the internal recycling programs Josh Packaging has in place?
We have so many, so I will only mention my favorites. We collect all our LDPE trim/waste/set-up material and ship it back to our plastic extruder vendors. The extruders eventually turn the scrap plastic into bin liners and trash bags. So, our waste turns into garbage bags. Pretty cool, if you ask me.
We recycle our “dirty” solvent through a distiller. Meaning, when we do a station wash-up after a job is completed, the solvent returns into the bucket contaminated. We then take the “dirty/contaminated” solvent and run it through a distiller.
We can reuse about 85% of the dirty solvent. We take it one step further. The 15% that we cannot use for production, we ship it down south to a cement refinery which is used for fuel blending.
What machines do you have in place to mitigate hazardous toxins in the environment?
We have a few, but nothing greater than our RTO thermal oxidizer. It’s pretty much a giant incinerator. It sucks all the toxic fumes (VOCs) from the printing presses and cooks it at 1500 degrees Fahrenheit before emitting it into the environment. It reduces our VOC emissions by 95%. Amazing technology!
What’s the future of Josh Packaging when it comes to sustainability?
You should already know the answer to that. Sustainable packaging. We already offer our customers compostable and recyclable packaging, but it is still pricey. Eventually, we will get to a point where the pricing is more reasonable. That’s for another conversation.