What: Improving single stream recycling in offices and break rooms. Adding balers and wood chippers to improve recycling efficiencies on the shop floors.
Why: To show commitment to the environment by recycling as much of their waste stream as possible.
How: Worked with the MN Waste Wise Foundation to implement a recycling strategy and utilize grant funding to obtain free bins and signs.
Results: Diverting approximately 14,000 pounds of recyclable materials from their waste stream on an annual basis.
Vision Woodworking produces custom retail displays, full store build outs, and showcases for customers around the globe. Many of these customers look to Vision to demonstrate positive environmental practices in their end product, their production processes, and also in their waste and recycling practices. It is with these values in mind Vision chose to meet with the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation in late 2015.
During the first meeting on-site at Vision Woodworking, Waste Wise was able to identify several opportunities for significant waste reduction and recycling improvements. These opportunities included improving collections of single stream recycling by pairing bins, color coding receptacles, and providing clear and consistent signage throughout their facilities. Other opportunities pertained more to the industrial manufacturing side of their operations. Vision Woodworking had the chance to improve pallet recycling, paper and cardboard recycling, and also plastic film.
With Waste Wise’s assistance, Vision Woodworking successfully obtained grant funding from Anoka County to purchase two new balers to allow them to efficiently collect, store and recycle cardboard for free with Northland Pallets. These new efficiencies have created more space for their single stream recycling and reduced the need for trash pick-ups, saving recyclable materials from the trash and money from their bottom line.
In addition to the improvements made with the help of Anoka County’s business recycling grant, Vision Woodworking independently invested in an upgraded wood chipper which allows them to capture larger pieces of wood waste previously going in their dumpster. This material is now chipped and ultimately given to a farmer to be recycled as animal bedding. Vision Woodworking fills a full length semi-truck trailer with saw dust from its ventilation system and wood chips from the chipper every month. These new recycling processes have created real change in employee behavior as Materials Manager Scott Brinkaus has shared. “I was expecting a bit of backlash from some of our employees, but the feedback has been great,” exclaimed Scott, “employees are very happy with our new recycling capabilities and eager to participate.”