In 2022, Hartson-Kennedy began a dedicated effort to reduce our environmental footprint by finding creative ways to recycle and repurpose manufacturing waste. One year later, we’re proud to report the program has achieved measurable results at our plant in Marion, Indiana, and we’re working hard to expand the initiative to our other locations.
Finding New Uses for Scrap Materials
H-K generates wood and plastic byproducts during the production of our signature countertops. Although we’ve always reused extra plastic banding segments whenever possible, there is other waste that ends up in landfills.
The question was how to handle the excess material we couldn’t repurpose. We researched potential partners and found a company in Tennessee that not only could pick up scraps from our Indiana plant, but that could also handle waste from our Mississippi plant in the future.
Generating Results: Reducing Landfill Impact by 40%
With our partner in place, we began baling cardboard, plastic and banding scraps for pickup. Additionally, we now send three, 40-yard containers of sawdust to a nearby farm each week to be used for animal bedding. We’re thrilled to report that these efforts have reduced our landfill impact by 40%!
Removing waste efficiently has generated improvements in our warehouse as well. Without scraps taking up space, aisles are kept clear and workers can move about safely as they do their jobs. Our sustainability efforts also extend to our three offices, where we’ve encouraged reduced usage and recycling of common supplies like paper and printer cartridges.
Enhancing Sustainability and Quality with Lean Principles
H-K looks to Lean manufacturing principles as another aspect of our focus on sustainability. Best known as the foundation of the highly efficient Toyota Production System, these practices enable us to reduce waste and maintain the correct level of inventory in our limited warehouse space.
Lean principles help us deliver customer shipments on time through tight alignment of all steps in our order, production and shipment process. This includes using precise design techniques that minimize variation and waste, and help our team create the high-quality products our customers expect and deserve.
The Future of Sustainability at H-K
Today, we’re looking at the best ways to roll out these successful practices from our Indiana plant to our locations in Mississippi and Georgia. Our team is also making incremental improvements throughout the sustainability program by identifying other partners who can help us repurpose scrap materials in clever new ways.