Responsible Manufacturing and Business Processes
Berk-Tek and Environmental Stewardship
Think Globally, Act Locally has long been a slogan of the environmental movement. One that emphasizes the ways in which small and specific individual actions can have an impact upon the overall environmental landscape.
It is with this concept in mind that Berk-Tek continuously assesses our internal business and manufacturing processes. And it is through this ongoing re-evaluation that we have developed process to mitigate our impact on the world around us. Specifically, we have developed and refined processes that address:
- Cardboard and paper recycling
- Copper and plastic waste reduction
- Copper and plastic reclamation
- Energy efficiency improvements
- Elimination of mercury release
- Minimization of harmful chemical use
- Waste water reclamation
- Packaging improvements
Cardboard and Paper Recycling
The cardboard and paper recycling program at organized by our Recycling Team, with a mission to, "Divert the maximum amount of materials possible from disposal by providing environmental leadership and education to promote waste reduction, recycling, and the purchase of recycled content products."
Since beginning the recycling program in October 2006 through the end of August 2008, we have recycled over 15 tons of paper and 142 tons of cardboard.
Copper and Plastic Waste Reduction
As part of our ongoing efforts to continuously improve our products, we also look for ways to eliminate scrap material generation. Paul Kroushl, Technical Manager, Advanced Materials Development for the Nexans Data Communications Competence Center explains how scrap reduction efforts serve the dual role of product improvement and positive environmental stewardship.
Copper and Plastic Reclamation
Some scrap is inevitable. When starting and stopping production lines to change jacketing colors or product types, we will generate some scrap material.
For these instances, we have comprehensive reclamation procedures and programs.
Copper is captured and sent for reprocessing where it can be used for alternative products. PVC jacketing is recycled into products such as garden hose, and FEP jacketing compound is reprocessed and used in our own products as crossfiller material or high-pair-count center tubing. Annually we reclaim & recycle or reprocess:
- 15,373 lbs. of copper
- 350,000 lbs. of FEP
- 360,000 lbs. of PVC
Energy Efficiency Improvements
in 2007 BT replaced over 600 metal halide lighting fixtures with high-efficiency T5 Fluorescent fixtures. This one change will result in a savings of over 1.5 Million kW-Hrs annually, reducing lighting costs by almost 50%. This 1.5 million kW-Hrs annually will reduce emissions annually by:
- 1,960,354 lbs. of greenhouse gasses (CO2)
- 3,046 lbs. og Nitrogen Oxides
- 15,154 lbs. of Sulfur Dioxide
- 37,208 milligrams of Mercury
Elimination of Mercury Release
With the change in our lighting system, we needed to ensure that we had a method to dispose of the new fluorescent lamps. While these bulbs are highly-energy efficient, they do contain mercury, a toxin for humans and other wildlife. Berk-Tek invested in a lamp-crushing product designed to capture mercury and thereby prevent any toxic vapors from entering the environment.
Minimization of Harmful Chemical Use
Berk-Tek has moved to using environmentally friendly cleaning products both in office spaces and on the production floor.
Waste Water Reclamation
Berk-Tek uses an evaporation system to handle all water used during the manufacturing process. All sanitary water is treated on-site and meets EPA guidelines before being released. This prevents 200,000 gallons of contaminated water from entering local streams and rivers.
Our commitment to recycling can also be seen in the packaging materials that we choose, with most both containing recycled materials and then also being recyclable themselves. Specifically, recycled materials can be found in our packaging as follows:
- 90% of the core of wooden reels
- 85% of the core of plastic reels
- 100% of plastic in plastic reels
- 85% of box liners
These elements represent the core of our commitment to the environment. We continue to extend upon our promise through the addition of other programs that will address such options as sensor-controlled lighting, additional solenoid usage for air compression control and additional recycling opportunities.
From innovative materials development, through positive manufacturing practices and on to standards bodies contributions, Berk-Tek truly does work to steward the planet.