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Portola Packaging reduces energy by almost 20%; recycles 5.5 million pounds over two years

Portola Packaging, Inc.'s North American facilities reduced energy usage by almost 20% and recycled more than 5.5 million pounds of material over the past two years.

The company, known as a leading closure manufacturer, is reporting an 8% reduction in energy usage in 2011, in addition to a 10.5% decrease in 2010, compared to the year prior.

In addition to energy reduction, Portola plants recycled in excess of 3 million pounds of material in 2011 - including plastic regrind, corrugated, paper, aluminum and steel. This is on top of the 2.5 million pounds the company reported in 2010.

"Our conservation goals begin with responsible manufacturing. This includes upstream processes which utilize material in the most efficient way possible so that there is less need to recycle on the back end. We also believe in partnering with our customers and communities to help make that happen," said Kevin Kwilinski, president and chief executive officer, Portola.

Contributing to the energy conservation efforts were more than 20 different initiatives across all eight plants. These included waste water management, replacement of poor efficiency equipment and improving air compressor optimization.

Portola's material recycling efforts included production scrap/regrind (mostly high-density polyethylene and polypropylene), corrugated shippers, hydraulic oil waste, scrap metal, aluminum cans, paper, etc.

The company is also working with customers on an individual basis to convert shipments from corrugated boxes to Gaylords. This enables 30-35 percent more closures to be shipped per truckload and reduces fuel and packaging materials costs significantly.

In addition to the material and energy reduction strategies, all of the corrugated cases Portola purchases have been certified under the standard requirements of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

"At Portola, we believe that good environmental stewardship is an ongoing process. As such, we have engaged all of our employees in the process to reuse, reduce and recycle. We encourage all of our team members to generate new, environmentally-sound ideas so that we can continue on this path," Kwilinski said.

Participating in the initiatives are the company's four U.S. facilities, plus three Canadian plants and one in Mexico. In addition to Portola's North American operations, the company's five international manufacturing plants (one in China, plus the U.K., New Zealand and the Czech Republic) are also working on a parallel environmental stewardship path.
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