When asked the question, “What do you look for in a business partner?, phrases like Shared Goals and Values, Easy to Talk To, Trustworthy, Industry Knowledge, and Experienced usually are high on the list. Evergreen Recycling (and the associated Disposal services along with Sunbright Recycling and SC Forest Trucking) has been in the recycling business since 1996. We have a singular focus on the recycling industry emphasizing plastics, paper and Municipal Solid Waste (also called MSW, it is a catchall term for dry waste that often ends up in a landfill).
By focusing our efforts in these three areas we have developed the expertise to understand the structure and economics of the recycling business better than any other company in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. General Manager, Kendal Hobby says it best, “ Evergreen Companies see all customers as partners, both in their business together, and in their effort to keep recyclables in circulation and out of landfills”.
Maintaining focus on these three main areas: plastics; paper; and MSW ensures the company is prepared with the right equipment and processes to be experts in these areas. This means familiarity with and equipment to best package waste for recycling or disposal. We have a deep understanding of the business side of recycling and have goals not only to minimizing the amount of waste into landfills, but also maximizing the value of recyclables. It is not uncommon for clients to actually create a value stream from the waste that they used to just have hauled away as trash.
SETTING UP A RECYCLE PROGRAM
In order to get clients up and running with a recycling program efficiently, Evergreen has developed a streamlined process that allows new customers to quickly come up to speed so they can start seeing the benefits right away. This five step process looks like this:
- Identify Waste; this consists of detailed mapping of the company’s waste streams, both amount and content. This is also when the conversation starts to develop company goals for recycling.
- Recovery Program; breaks down the various waste streams to discover the recoverable part of the waste, the volume and if there are any specific sorting, packaging, or cleaning needs.
- Service schedule; based on the volume and type of waste Evergreen can determine how often you will need pick-ups and where they will be delivered for either recycling or disposal. That way you only pay for transportation when it is necessary.
- Follow up; On a regular basis weekly, monthly, or quarterly reports will be produced as needed to see if the recycle program is hitting the marks originally set-up for the program and if not, then why not.
- Follow Through; in this stage, adjustments have been made as needed to optimize the program in regards to recycling, and reducing overall waste expense; perhaps even returning the value of the recyclables in the form of a monthly check.
A GLIMPSE INTO THE RECYLE WORLD
To give you an idea of the sort of things that go into the decision of how and when to recycle certain items, here is some background on recycling processes and how they are viewed from the recycler’s point of view.
Paper and paper products are not strictly sheets of paper that might commonly come to mind. There are cardboard, chipboard, mixed paper, multi-wall bags, office paper, newspaper, printer-grades, and so on. Although, in theory they are all made of cellulose fibers and could be shredded and rendered into pulp, there are some subtleties to reconstituting used paper. Since the first step is shredding, the fibers in the paper get a little bit shorter each time they are recycled. This limits the paper to about seven re-cycles. This can be prolonged by adding fresh virgin pulp and it’s a reason that you rarely have “100% recycled” paper.
One other part of the process to be aware of is that paper recycling companies like to classify paper by its structure and surface treatment. They use these parameters as guides to group together similar papers so they produce a uniform product. Newspapers are different than manila folders or cardboard. So some degree of pre-sorting can help make paper recycling more effective. By the way, recent figures indicate that 68% of paper is currently recycled. So there are likely to be many place that would accept paper for recycling.
Plastics are another matter and much more complicated. That’s why we focus on two plastics in particular: Resin Code 1 or PE (Polyethylene). This is the stuff that makes up all those one-use water bottles and it is one of the easiest plastics available to recycle. Unfortunately only about 29% get recycled. A lack of infrastructure is part of the problem. Another part is that there are many types of plastics (different resin codes) and consumers cannot easily distinguish them and sort them accordingly. These factors are starting to change.
The other type of plastic that Evergreen is prepared to handle is Resin code 4, Polypropylene (PP). This plastic is used for more heavy duty applications like car parts, clothing fibers, food containers, dishware and so forth. The biggest market demand for PP is for food containers. In order to tap this market one has to sort this plastic from non-food grade versions. Researchers believe they have a high-speed sorting technology that can do the trick. Although only about 1% of this plastic is recycled it is very energy intensive and re-using it saves the manufacturer a lot in terms of energy cost. For now recycling is limited to the non-food grade applications, but this could change rapidly with technology and infrastructure developments.
“Commitment to our customers is our number one priority.”
This statement about commitment extends to all aspects of our business. If you suddenly need a pick-up we’ll do our best to respond within 24 hours. If your recycle plan has changed, just call us up and you can talk it through with a real person. If you want to find more ways to recycle more, we’ll work with you to make it happen. We are there for you, every step of your journey providing expertise, advice, suggestions, equipment – whatever it takes to make this run smoothly for you. We really do consider our customers part of our extended family. We have succeeded for the last nearly 30 years by being true to three guiding principles. And we’d like to show you what that looks like for your company.
- Prioritize communication
- Make sure we’re very easy to do business with
- We stick to our promise