Earth Day 2024: Driving Sustainable Operations through Waste Management

Michelle MachenMauser News

Every April 22nd, individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life unite in a global effort to advance sustainability and climate action, marking the annual observation of Earth Day. At Mauser Packaging Solutions, sustainability is built into the foundation of who we are. We take action every day to deliver circular packaging solutions to our customers, reduce our impact on the environment and drive sustainable operations.

With more than 60 reconditioning and recycling facilities around the world, our Recover Syst-M offers the largest global collection and return network. Our ability to collect used packaging for reconditioning or recycling is a vital aspect of creating a sustainable circular packaging economy and we continually strive improve the sustainability of these operations.

One area of improvement that has been a focal area recently is on increasing the scrutiny of used packaging that is accepted at reconditioning locations. In 2021, Mauser implemented a Container Acceptance Policy that outlines the criteria a container must meet before it can be accepted at a facility for reconditioning. In 2023, greater emphasis was placed on the implementation and execution of this policy by requiring all new reconditioning sales to be reviewed and approved by a member of the EHS team before the sale is finalized.

“We are not a hazardous waste disposal company, but we inherit responsibility for hazardous waste that we allow to be shipped to our facilities. This new container review process protects us from added risk and eliminates additional transport and expense associated with removing unacceptable containers from our property,” commented Rick Capps, NAIP Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

This process not only protects Mauser from environmental violations and fines but protects employees from safety risks associated with hazardous substances. In 2023, reconditioning facilities realized a reduction in injuries due to chemical exposure which is attributable to there being less hazardous material allowed in the work environment.

To further raise awareness and understanding regarding the proper management of hazardous substances and waste, NAIP held weekly Environmental Stand Downs at all facilities for six weeks in 2023. Content was then incorporated into annual training requirements. While the content primarily pertained to reconditioning facilities, knowing how to properly manage hazardous waste is important for all employees.

In addition to controlling the waste that is accepted by reconditioning facilities, Mauser is committed to reducing the waste generated in all facilities and using reputable disposal companies for waste removal. New packaging facilities are exposed to less risk due to hazardous chemicals received from customers, but all Mauser facilities are committed to operating our facilities in a sustainable manner by embracing a waste management philosophy built on the "Responsible Waste Management Hierarchy”.
Responsible Waste Management Hierarchy

Examples of responsible waste management activities:

  • NASP – Metals facilities in Chicago, Ill. and Homerville, Ga. have implemented a process for having waste oil absorbents and shop towels laundered instead of throwing them away. In 2023 alone, Chicago prevented 60,000 lbs. of these materials being sent to landfills. Additionally, these facilities implemented a Continued Use Solvent program which sends used solvents to another company for continued use without need for reclamation, keeping this material out of the waste stream. A total of 480,000 pounds of solvent was managed under “continued use” in 2023.
  • NASP is currently considering implementing an oil recovery service which will extend the use of lubricants used in the production process thereby lowering the liability associated with over the road transportation of used oils while supporting ESG and sustainability goals.
  • Universal wastes including batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, waste paints and mercury articles are sent for recovery of constituents thus diverting these materials from landfill disposal. Additionally, plants send cardboard and metal wastes for recycling.
  • Removal of waste at all facilities is managed through reputable companies that meet Mauser standards for responsible disposition of waste.

All over the world, sustainability is becoming a high priority for consumers, clients and employees. People want to know their work and money will go towards a business that supports the community and that works to lessen their impact on the environment. Our product portfolio along with our recycling and reconditioning services are at the core of our inherently sustainable business model and we take action every day to reduce the impact of our operations on our global community.