Flexible packaging is by nature more
environmentally friendly than its rigid counterparts. Flexible packaging
uses less energy, less natural resources, and less CO2
than bottles, cans and tubs, and in most cases it protects the
product just as well. At Multifilm Packaging Corporation, we go one step
further. We are committed to being a good citizen. In every decision we
make, we take into consideration the impact on the planet, its people,
our customers, and our employees. We constantly strive to lower our
carbon footprint through investments, R&D and continuous improvements.
Our geo system cools
our plant and
Our scrap material becomes
Nothing wasted: our plastic production
In 2008, we started a comprehensive program to reduce our carbon footprint by using geothermal energy to heat and cool our plant. The idea is fairly simple; cool our plant and machinery in the summer, and heat it in the winter with energy from the ground. We pump water from the ground at a temperature around 52 F and power our AC system and cool our machinery. We use the same water in the winter to heat the plant. The system has reduced Multifilm's carbon footprint by over 31%. We are the only manufacturer in North America to use geothermal energy to this extent.
Our efforts have not gone unnoticed. We are proud recipients of the Department of Energy Save Energy Now Award and have received a check from ComEdís Bright Ideas program. Additional media coverage on our Geothermal system includes articles in Plastics News, Flexible Packaging Magazine, Candy Industry, Plastics Technology, and Packaging Digest for our energy savings of 5,091 MMBtuís and savings of $149,200 annually.
To view a photoblog of the construction of the geo from start to finish please click here.
The success of the geo installation helped fuel the fire for other environmental projects. One such project was a zero-waste to landfill goal. Led by Multifilm's "Green Team," a group composed of representatives from each department that play a large role in the company's sustainability, this task was completed during 2012 and continues to make changes when necessary.
As a manufacturing facility of flexible packaging, our biggest waste stream includes scrap plastic, in various stages of production. Since 2009 half of our plastic scrap goes to injection molding for various products. The first priority of the Green Team was to tackle the second half.
After much research and deliberation, Multifilm now sends non-recyclable plastic scrap, including printed laminate, metallized, PET films and various plastic wastes such as shrink-wrap, to a waste-to-energy facility. In 2012, Multifilm acquired a reprocessing extruder, allowing clear scrap to be repelletized into virgin material to be used again.
With the introduction of a few more recycling streams, Multifilm estimates that less than 5% of material is now sent to landfill.
Over the last 30 years or so, the EPA and other air quality agencies throughout the United States have developed rules that require capture and control of volatile organic compounds (VOC's) generated by manufacturing processes in order to improve air quality. Typically, thermal oxidizers control the VOC's.
A traditional oxidizer uses platinum as a catalyst. When heated up to 650° F (343° C) the catalyst destroys the VOC's solvents, making them free from any hazardous gases. The problem with this system is that it utilizes a large amount of energy in order to reach proper destruction temperatures.
Regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTO's) are designed to remove air pollutants from contaminated air streams. The VOC's may be released during the manufacture of many different types of products. In the flexographic printing industry, VOC's, such as solvents, are released during the application of decorative ink to flexible substrates.
An RTO works with significantly higher temperatures than a traditional oxidizer, about 1500° F (816° C). At this heat the VOC's break down in the same way as they do in a catalytic converter. Interestingly, there is no additional energy needed once the reactor is heated up, as the exhausts now become the energy needed to keep the process going.
As a result, we at Multifilm have been able to reduce our natural gas consumption by more than 90%. This allows for a heavy reduction in our carbon footprint as well as a nice cost reduction for our company.
"Reduce" is the first step in "reduce, reuse, recycle", and at Multifilm we specialize in producing products that do more with less. Many of our proprietary materials allow for down-gauging without sacrificing the "body feel" or barrier of the package. For example, SuperSeal is an alternative sealant web that is stiffer than polyethylene (PE), which can provide a 25% reduction in materials used. This means 25% less garbage in our landfills, 25% less energy required for transportation, and often less cost to our customers! UltraWrap and Hi-Z and Hi-E are other toxin-free products that do more with less or replace harmful alternative materials.
All our films are free from bisphenol A, phtalates, lead, PVC, dioxins, Perfluorooctanesulfonates (PFOS) and Perfluoroctanoicacid (PFOA) and other toxins, and our products conform to Prop 65 and FDA regulations for direct and indirect food contact (depending on the application). We will gladly provide certification and back-up documents to support these statements.
Our state-of-the art RTO was installed
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