The Path To Zero
Sustainability encompasses environmental, technological, economic and social factors. They’re not just interconnected; one begets the other. As such, reducing our impact on the environment isn’t simply a matter of subtraction — of doing more with less. Often it means doing more with more. More innovation, more expense, more effort.
While the goals of Sustainability can be stated in absolutes — zero carbon, zero waste, etc. — our measures are incremental: the steps we’ve taken toward zero, the strides we’ve made in continuous improvement. Here’s how we’re doing.
Raw & Renewable Materials
As a manufacturer, we turn raw materials into finished goods. Raw materials comprise over two-thirds of our carbon footprint so we’re always looking for ways to decrease our use by reducing product density and scrap.
In 2016, we invented an entirely new technology called PlantCorc™. It’s based on sugarcane, a natural, renewable resource that’s grown separate from agricultural land so as not to compete with food production.
Sugarcane has a negative carbon footprint. So much so, it enables us to produce Green Line products with a net-zero carbon footprint.
The manufacturing process produces some scrap or unusable product. While we have made year-over-year reductions in the scrap we generate, the bulk of it is sold to recyclers who turn it into food containers, playground equipment and park benches.
We’re always looking for ways to manage our energy usage by identifying production efficiencies, installing technologies with lower energy requirements, and choosing renewable energy sources.
It’s why, for example, we place a premium on working with local suppliers to reduce transportation needs. In Europe, all our key suppliers are located within 150 miles of our plant.
Nomacorc’s North Carolina facility deploys 1,260 solar panels that produce about 400,000 kWh of electricity per year, which is collected by the grid and purchased by Duke Energy, our local utility.
In 2015, Nomacorc’s Belgian facility consumed 6,429,222 kWh of electricity, 100% of which is from renewable wind energy.
Our products consume little water; it takes just 4.5 cm3 of water to make a Nomacorc closure, which is used primarily for cooling during processing and is returned to collection tanks for reuse.
In 2015, we reduced our total water consumption (U.S. and Belgium) by 13.15%. Total water use globally was 3,191,757 gallons.