At OEC, we go through a lot of cardboard waste. We are practically swimming in cardboard at the end of each job between the tables, chairs, workstations, and other products we install. As much as we would like to reduce the amount of cardboard used, it serves the important job of getting quality furniture safely from one place to another. While we can’t reduce our cardboard use, we can recycle it.
Keeping Cardboard Out Of The Landfill
To create sustainability as a business model, OEC recently acquired a cardboard compacter to help deal with jobsite waste. The compactor works by compressing cardboard so tight that you get bales weighing 600-900 pounds each. Over the last month alone, we have produced five bales of cardboard totaling 3,000 – 4,500 pounds of recyclable materials. What would have gone to the landfill is now being recycled in a manner that we can easily handle and transport.
Enlisting The Help Of Western Recycling
This decision came to fruition as the OEC leadership team discussed a long-term, sustainable solution to waste. We previously relied on a single individual to take cardboard in small amounts to the recycling plant. While this helped deal with the waste, it was not a long-term solution. That is when we connected with Western Recycling to support our sustainability goals. Since 1979 Western Recycling has diverted over 5 billion pounds of material from Idaho landfills. With locations throughout the Treasure Valley and Eastern Idaho, they recycle approximately 20 million pounds of recyclables per month. They are an excellent partner in our quest for sustainability with an incredible service of picking up the bales and delivering them on our behalf.
While sustainability is a great goal, it is only achievable through intentionality. It takes our team longer to process the cardboard now than to throw it into the trash. But as our Director of Operations, Bryan Spencer, says, “The team buy-in has been phenomenal. Everyone stands behind it. Once you tell someone that over the course of a year, you will keep 36,000 pounds of cardboard out of the landfill, it is an easy initiative to get behind.”
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