The topic of sustainability is a high priority for Continental Tire the Americas LLC, and the company's newest tire production facility in Sumter, S.C. is an example of that. The Sumter facility recently attained status as a “zero landfill” plant in its first year of production.
The term “zero landfill” means that 100% of the plant’s waste is converted into recycled products, or used for energy, rather than turning into trash. This waste includes steel, wood, glass, plastic, rubber, paper and other materials. The Continental Sumter Plant works with waste management company HWI Environmental Technologies to process and repurpose all waste materials generated in the facility.
“Continental believes in being a strong community partner, and contributing to a cleaner environment is a high priority across our entire corporation,” says Craig Baartman, Sumter plant manager. “Our goal is to remain a zero landfill plant in partnership with our waste management team at HWI to make a positive, sustainable impact in the beautiful city of Sumter.”
Continental’s Mt. Vernon plant in Mt. Vernon, Ill., was the first Continental Tire zero landfill plant in the world. HWI Environmental Technologies began working with Mt. Vernon in June of 2004 and at the time, the plant was recycling 38% of material generated. HWI and Continental continued to increase the recycling percentages and by March of 2012, the plant was at zero landfill status. Zero landfill was achieved following two years at 95 percent recycling. Today, the Mt. Vernon plant averages 28 million pounds of recycled material per year.
In addition to the zero landfill initiative, Continental focuses on sustainability through conservation of water and energy within tire plants. In the Sumter plant, cross-functional teams monitor water usage, steam leakages and other issues that could waste energy or harm the local environment. The plant also educates employees about how to protect and preserve natural resources in and outside of the workplace.
“Achieving zero landfill status at such an early stage in the life of a tire plant could not have been achieved without the support of the Sumter employees,” says Toby Ross, a HWI representative. “For our recycling programs to be successful, it takes diligence and discipline in separating materials and having a sustainability mindset, and the Continental Tire Sumter Plant has accomplished this.”
The Continental Sumter plant also contributes to a more sustainable environment through community donations to the preservation of natural resources, including trail restoration at Poinsett State Park just outside of Sumter.