Your Green Life: "Plastics Going Green"

By KBJR News 1

June 12, 2014 Updated Jun 12, 2014 at 8:13 AM CDT

Superior, WI
Being a sustainable business can apply to every company out there, even a plastic company. Charter NEX Film in Superior produces plastic films for a variety of uses, and the extra scraps are never wasted.

Eric Smith, the General Manager, Charter NEX Film said, "99 percent of what we produce as waste here is recycled internally. There is a small fraction that we cannot recycle at our facility, but that actually goes to a secondary recycler."

One big part of their sustainable business plan is energy efficiency.

"During the cooler months we actually can use the energy from our extrusion operation and the heat that's generated and we draw that back in to be used as a heat hours." says Smith.

Films are all around us, from cosmetics, to hygiene, food packaging, and even in your wallet.

"Hunting and fishing licenses that you get from the DNR those colored one that they change the color every year, that gets a direct thermal coating on there, that's our stock. It's meant to be kinda tare resistant and abuse resistant."

But some of their customers don't need thick or tare resistant films.
It's cheaper, and you use less product if the film is more thin.

Brent Greiner, the Technical Manager told me, "Certainly we are always working with our customers to, what we call, down gauge. Take a product that was heavier, lets just say for instance 3 mills, and down gauge it to a 2 and a half or 2.25 mill."

Flexible packaging for food products is becoming a trend. It's cheaper, but rigid, and offers its own environmental benefits.

Erin Makela, the Marketing Communications Specialist, said,"The flexible packaging industry has cut down a lot on fuel consumption just because they can ship so much more product based on weight."

State of the art technology is also allowing us to waste less food.

"Reality is a lot of these food packages that are on the shelf allow for these things to be there longer, for people to use them longer." says Greiner.

Flexible packaging extends the shelf life of produce from 3–day to 14–days or more. And more energy goes into production of the food than the packing.

Meteorologist Adam Lorch