Kendall, Executive Director of RIOS™
On National Manufacturing Day, it is important to remember
that manufacturing and recycling are a perfect match. Manufacturers make the
products that get recycled, scrap is generated from the manufacturing process
and gets recycled, and then manufacturers buy commodity grade recycled product
to make new things. None of those examples even take into account the packaging
materials that also can be recycled.
There is plenty to debate about design-for-recycling, and
the sharing of information to encourage more effective and efficient recycling
of products. There is one fact that cannot be debated. Manufacturers, and
indeed anyone that is recycling, must consider their recycling vendor’s
environmental, health & safety, and quality systems to ensure that the material
they are generating is being recycled properly. In the electronics recycling
industry, this has already begun to happen. Driven by data security issues and
brand protection, major companies nearly always require their vendor to have a
certified EHS management system. But, why does it stop with electronics? The
scrap from a CNC mill doesn’t have data that can harm a company’s reputation,
and post-industrial plastic is tough to trace, yet it is still imperative that
these products be recycled responsibly by recyclers that have invested in an
EHS management system.
Manufacturers have long invested in making their own
facilities safe and environmentally responsible. Corporations like Toyota and
Caterpillar, to their credit, have even become synonymous with developing
efficiency and safety programs that other companies can implement.
Unfortunately, when manufacturers are selecting recycling vendors, they are not
putting the same value in that company’s employees, or the environment.
Requiring or giving preference to a facility that has a certified QEHS
management system, like RIOS (the
Recycling Industry Operating System) or ISO during vendor selection means
that the same values permeate a manufacturer’s entire footprint.
As we celebrate the jobs, innovation, and positive economic
impact that manufacturing has on the world, let’s also remember that
manufacturing, acting as the recycling industry’s older sibling, can be a
leader in raising the level of health & safety and environmental
responsibility within recycling facilities around the globe. That is something everyone can celebrate.
For more information about RIOS™ contact Darrell Kendall at 202-662-8528.