Green Star Partnership (TGSP) is an environmental leadership program facilitated by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The partnership recognizes Tennessee industries that are committed to sustainability and that exhibit continuous improvement throughout their entire operation. Sharing successes, networking, and best management practices are just a few of the opportunities TGSP offers its members.
Benefits of membership in the TGSP include recognizing and sharing success in sustainability. The TGSP develops partner highlights as one of the many ways sustainability in action is shared through its members.
This month’s (April 2017) partner highlight is SumiRiko Tennessee, Inc. Formerly known as DTR of Tennessee, SumiRiko operates two facilities, one in Tazewell, Claiborne County and one in Midway, Washington County. The company manufactures anti-vibration, high-pressure hoses and sound-proofing products for the automotive industry. The two Tennessee facilities manufacture over 1,200 complimentary parts for 20 different types of vehicles. Many of the parts are a unique combination of rubber and metal.
This specific type of manufacturing can lead to very particular waste streams. “The two facilities are nearly an hour apart and generate different materials,” said Jeff Bolduc, environmental engineer at the Midway plant. “That can be a logistical problem when you are not located in a central part of the state.”
The two facilities share enough similar types of rubber waste that they are able to use the same recycling vendor for both facilities. “Rubber, both cured and uncured, is our biggest challenge to recycle,” said Melanie Yeary, environmental engineer at the Tazewell plant.
Through good source separation, and with the assistance of their recycling vendors, the two facilities can collect rubber waste to get the best value and beneficial reuse out of the material. Although both locations recycle many other common waste streams, such as cardboard, steel, paper, and plastic, the rubber compounds are by far the most in weight. Even with these challenges, Tazewell is at 92% landfill diversion and Midway is near 90%.
The rate of landfill diversion is only one success story for SumiRiko. The company is committed to sustainability by becoming as energy efficient and zero-waste as possible.
Read more about SumiRiko’s commitment to sustainability success. [PDF on TN DEC website]