NORWEGIAN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- As you finish your lunch at work, you probably end up going to the trash can to throw something away. That's not the case at one plastic film manufacturing plant in Schuylkill County. Employees there are proud to be landfill-free.
It's a familiar sound in lunchrooms everywhere, but these aren't trash bins. These bins are for different types of recycled materials that employees at Tredegar Corporation near Pottsville sort themselves.
"We felt that, as a good steward of the environment, that we have that program put in place. That started five years ago to become landfill-free and it's been a journey," site manager Scott Goines said.
Being 100 percent landfill-free means that everything is diverted away from a landfill.
"Everything that we make here in our manufacturing process goes out, everything else that we use to make our product does not go into a landfill at all," Goines said.
The idea to become landfill-free started with an onsite environmental team.
"We partnered with a company called Green Innovations that helped get our team started," said safety ambassador Tim Fix.
It wasn't an easy start.
"There were a lot of challenges, just getting a lot of people on board, having them understand what proper receptacles to put their waste and their scrap," Fix said.
Five years later, it's second nature for employees to separate single stream items like plastic bottles and glass from compostables such as food scraps, from engineered fuels.
"Engineered fuel is basically wood scrap, floor sweeps, earplugs, gloves, conveyor belts, etc.," said Fix.
Going 100 percent landfill-free at Tredegar has drawn recognition from both the manufacturing and environmental communities.
"We wouldn't mind helping other local facilities here and get on board and become landfill-free here in Schuylkill County.
Since the landfill-free program began five years ago, employees at Tredegar have diverted 535 tons of material away from the landfill.