By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.
Recycling isn’t new to Duro-Last. Company founder John R. Burt started recycling 30 years ago when he found a method for turning manufacturing scraps into a resilient flooring product, keeping the waste out of the landfill. Their commitment to recycling has only grown from there.
The company hired Katie Chapman, who has a strong background in sustainability, to help them expand their efforts and put a formal program in place. Katie started by developing an in-house recycling program. “We are now diverting 95 percent of our waste from landfills in our corporate office and all of our manufacturing locations,” Katie said. “Every one of our locations recycles as much as possible and the program is consistent across all locations, making it nice if an employee travels to another location the process is the same.”
Katie also formalized a take-back program for recycling old mechanically attached PVC membrane that has been torn off the roof. “Even if the membrane has been on the roof for 25 or 30 years, it can still be recycled,” Katie explained. “The contractor just needs to roll up the membrane, secure it to a pallet and then send it to the nearest Duro-Last facility. This is often a more cost-effective option for the contractor because it eliminates the cost of dumpsters and disposal, but it really has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”
With locations in Oregon, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Texas and Michigan there are many options for contractors returning the used membrane. Once received, the membrane is sent to Duro-Last’s sister company in Michigan where it is ground and shredded and then run through the extruder to be used in manufacturing other products. Some of these products include concrete expansion joints, walkway pads, roof pavers and Protect-All flooring. Building owners receive a certificate that certifies that the material removed from their roof was handled in responsible manner.
Katie says that the company tries to spread the word as much as possible among their sales reps, technical field employees and contractors to encourage the recycling of more membrane. When she isn’t talking to contractors about the program or checking bins to make sure the right materials are in the right places, she is working in research and development to figure out how they can make their current products more sustainable or how they can use the recycled materials elsewhere.
Duro-Last was recognized in 2017 by the Michigan Recycling Coalition for their leadership and excellence in waste diversion. To date, in partnership with their sister company, Oscoda Plastics, they have recycled 80 million pounds of PVC material.
Learn more about Duro-Last.