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Sustainable Efforts


Towards Sustainable Packaging

(Excerpt) "A world where all packaging is sourced responsibly, designed to be effective and safe throughout its life cycle, meets market criteria for performance and cost, is made entirely using renewable energy and once used, is recycled efficiently to provide a valuable resource for subsequent generations. In summary: a true "cradle to cradle" system for all packaging."
Excerpt: visit:http://www.sustainablepackaging.org (see definitions)

This is the view of the USA's Sustainable Packaging Coalition and one that cannot, and is not being ignored by a growing number of companies in the packaging industry and the logistics & supply chain industry. It will require transformation, innovation and optimisation from raw material provider to customer and beyond that, through the recycling and disposal process.

Integra Packaging made a conscious decision from day 1 of its operation that our approach to sustainability would take a broad view. We acted in the following areas:
Our Community: we understood that part of our social contract as a company included being proactive in helping the community in which we operated. We were asked to join a number of local forums and committees to enhance business and employment in the local area. We believed that on-the-job education was a practical way we could invest in and tomorrow's skill-base. We have assisted eight (8) local initiatives with young people.
Our People: we believed the skills and experience of our older age workers were valuable. Our oldest is 75, next oldest is 64. We also have two father-and-son teams on staff. We knew that our employees had a lot to offer - if they were respected and given a 'voice'. We started a weekly committee which brings employee-management representatives to a common table, to lead improvement and encourage change in our operations. Mutual responsibility is encouraged and achievements are rewarded.
Plantation-only timber products: we moved from hardwoods to plantation softwoods and chose suppliers who had a commitment to plantation-only raw materials. We knew that this was an important issue for an increasing number of our customers and for the further integrity of their supply-chain management. We now only source materials from reputable companies who can satisfy that criteria
Recycling: all waste products from our manufacturing process are separated on-site to eliminate cross-contamination and ensure that waste (timber, sawdust, cardboard, steel, plastic) is able to be used efficiently when it leaves our gate. We used to pay to have waste taken away; we are now supplying useful waste materials (at zero removal cost) to enterprises in the community who can productively use these materials.
Return, re-use, recycle: we have moved to align with businesses which can partner in the supply of innovative packaging which can save time, space, shipping cost, duplication and waste. We now supply a range of products which have dramatic implications on these criteria - and save our customers real money, which better protect their products (less damage, less returns, less cost) and which can ultimately be returned, re-used or disassembled for recycling.
Safety: Integra Packaging was one of the first to introduce (certified) safe working load SWL pallets to correct weight capacity 'fit-for-purpose' criteria. As an OH&S issue, this assisted customers to load pallets within that parameter, with flow-on implications for safety throughout the loading, transport, delivery process. This impacts people, transport and cost - and the 'hidden' costs of product failure, avoidable accident etc; a 'broader' sustainability issue,
Through improved packaging design, better use of waste materials, purchasing from companies who harvest from renewable resources, recycling products for clients and finding a way to offer a reusable/returnable system to our customer base; Integra Packaging is gradually fulfilling its' goals. Having progressed these improvements we are now working on the framework to further evaluate our efforts, identify more opportunities and develop strategies that address the environmental concerns related to the life-cycle of the packaging we provide (described as Cradle to Cradle).

As a medium-sized enterprise, we have taken our first step on the journey towards a more sustainable operation - which they say is the hardest step. As a company we are committed to our people and their families - and to the community in which we operate. We want to make a difference and we are part of an industry that is embracing new ideas in a rapidly changing and more competitive business world. We call on the help of our suppliers, customers, competitors, alliances and our own people - to help us through the next stage of our journey.

Below is the SPC framework which will help inspire our incremental steps over the coming years to make a difference in our small part of the world. We encourage others to join in making a substantial difference, as we strive to ensure we can answer the question from our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren - "What did you do when you realised something had to change to protect our future."

Sustainable Packaging Goals (Sustainable Packaging Coalition - USA)

1. Is beneficial, safe & healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle;
2. Meets market criteria for performance and cost;
3. Is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy;
4. Maximizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials;
5. Is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices;
6. Is made from materials healthy in all probable end of life scenarios;
7. Is physically designed to optimize materials and energy;
8. Is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial cradle to cradle cycles.


Environmental Efforts

Cooperative arrangements work for both the Company and recyclers alike. 'This not only helps the Company with its' waste management, but provides related employment, products which are useful to other businesses - and it benefits the environment' says Tony Dyer, General Manager.

-Anthony Beck is in the local poultry industry growing turkeys and ducks. He says pine shavings from Integra Packaging are used for bedding during his growing cycle. 'Used pine shavings and manure then become an excellent soil conditioner. Collected and composted for fertilizer, they're used in cropping, turf farms,top-dressing pasture and various horticulture production' he says.

- Neil Libbis at Shoalhaven Recycling has this to say about the Integra Packaging waste that they collect: 'Cardboard & paper go to Amcor or Visy to make boxes; glass goes to Visy then ACI for re-use, and even plastic is collected and reprocessed. The best thing about Integra Packaging is that their materials are separated before pick-up. This avoids cross contamination, saves time and means that 100% of materials taken off-site can be recycled ' says Neil

- David Hojem - Waste Management Manager, Shoalhaven City Council says - "Shoalhaven City Council congratulates Tony Dyer, General Manager Integra Packaging, for his foresight and activity in waste reduction and recycling; best practice in waste management is good for the environment, business and our City"

 
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