Kendall Packaging Corp. Wins 2016 Sustainability Excellence Award

2016 Sustainability Excellence Award Kendall Packaging Corp. Forum Awards Banquet
Kendall Packaging Corp.’s Nate Friedl, director of manufacturing/operations manager at its Jefferson, WI plant, accepts the company’s Sustainability Excellence Award from FTA President Mark Cisternino at Forum 2016’s Awards Banquet.

Headquartered in Mequon, WI with production facilities in Jefferson, WI and Pittsburg, KS, Kendall Packaging Corp., winner of the 2016 Sustainability Excellence Award, believes sustainability is an important part of doing business.

“We believe passing on a healthy environment to the next generation is very important. As a result, we have always taken our responsibility of good stewardship seriously,” said Kendall’s Marketing Coordinator Cynthia Hwang. “Winning the Sustainability Excellence Award was a rewarding experience. Many years of dedicated planning and work went into this ongoing initiative.”

The independently owned flexible packaging printer, offering bags and pouches, forming and non forming films, high performance barrier films, laminated metallized films, portion control packaging and roll stock films, publishes a sustainability report that reveals the success of recycling programs at its facilities, environmentally conscious products it produces and equipment it uses for specific green purposes.

“At Kendall Packaging, we believe that sustainability is as much about the processes used to design, manufacture and distribute our products as it is about the products themselves,” writes President and CEO Eric Erickson III in his company’s sustainability report. “By using the latest technologies available, Kendall Packaging engineers and develops products using the right mix of renewable, compostable, and post consumer materials. And, by focusing on source reduction in the initial stages of product design, we can guarantee our customers’ products will not be over packaged and thus have less of an impact on the environment.”

In its application for the 2016 Sustainability Excellence Award, Kendall lists out 10 primary initiatives it has undertaken to reduce its waste streams and minimize its carbon footprint:

  • Recycling/baling 100 percent of film scrap: Beginning one year ago, Kendall began baling all of its material cardboard, shrink wrap and films, after which it is sold to companies to repurpose the material. The plan made a real difference, both in materials— more than 1.3 million pounds of film, cardboard and shrink wrap was kept out of landfills—and costs—savings of $95,000, in addition to almost $25,000 in compensation
  • Waste cores sent for recycling: In 2013, Caraustar Industrial Products came on board as Kendall’s partner in recycling all used or damaged cores. “This was huge for us, as the cores took up significant space in our dumpsters because of their hollow nature,” Kendall noted. “This resulted in a significant reduction in pickups needed for dumpster swapping.” In real numbers, that equated to more than 72,000 pounds last year
  • Clean switch incinerator: Because its VOC output was not very large, Kendall negotiated a deal with the state of Wisconsin to allow the company to turn off its clean switch incinerator, which takes air and cleans it before being released from the plant. The machine is turned off for roughly six months of every year, bringing tremendous gas and petroleum use reductions
  • Paperless schedule: In its business operations, Kendall has reduced its paper use by going digital with documents like shift schedules. “It’s the little things,” the company states, although the 30 percent reduction in paper usage is nothing to scoff at
  • Skylight installation: Kendall installed 33 skylights in its slitting and laminating departments to create what the company believes is a better working environment for employees
  • Replacing mercury vapor lights: Through a Wisconsin rebate project, in 2009, Kendall was able to replace its mercury vapor lighting with fluorescent lighting. The state paid for roughly one-third of the project—$6,400 of an $18,300 bill. The resulting 50 percent electricity cost reduction meant the project paid for itself by 2012, and all subsequent savings are found money
  • EcoPure solvent reclaim system installation: Kendall’s EcoPure solvent reclaim system paid for itself even faster than the company’s mercury vapor light replacement, and without the aid of state funding. It took only one year for the closed loop system to prove its effectiveness and save Kendall what it spent. Installed on a 10-color Windmoller & Holscher press, it cleans and recycles 47.5 gallons of solvent every eight hours. “The only reclaim we need to add from time to time is the solvent, to top off the system because of evaporation,” the company reports. The $60,000 annual savings has spurred plans to purchase another system for its other press
  • Outside bug lights: Rather than spray pesticides to control the bug population around its facilities, Kendall worked with one of its customers to install bug lights in a specific configuration to maximize their use and meet American Institute of Baking (AIB) regulations
  • Air conditioning/ducting: To better cool its facilities, Kendall purchased new, high efficiency air conditioners and upgraded its duct work
2016 Sustainability Excellence Award Kendall Packaging Corp. recycling
Kendall’s many sustainability efforts added up to real benefits.
Photo courtesy of Kendall Packaging Corp.

Kendall also cited four additional measures to reduce its carbon footprint:

  • Installing a distiller both to reclaim solvents and cut its transportation costs
  • Sending all still bottoms generated by the distiller to be repurposed for road material
  • Continuously working with its customer base to down gauge films, lowering the company’s material footprint
  • Adding two retention ponds to reduce water runoff from the plant

In bestowing Kendall with the Sustainability Excellence Award, judge Dave Roey of Progressive Recovery, Inc. said the company’s “continuing sustainable process improvement has established Kendall as a leader in the area and a fantastic example for other companies to follow.” Lauterbach Group, Inc.’s Dolores Corcoran, also a judge, agreed, noting that “Kendall Packaging continues to seek alternative innovations to reduce its environmental impact as well as develop and improve and support partnerships that drive education and environmental change solutions.”