Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Packaging Corner: Turn trash into treasure

Reverse logistics service converts used packaging waste into a valuable asset.
July 01, 2012

You might call Rehrig Pacific Logistics’ director of innovation and operations, Todd Rodewald, a modern day Rumpelstiltskin. But instead of turning straw into gold, he’s spearheading his company’s efforts to help retailers and manufacturers uncover the value hidden in their trash.

Rehrig Pacific Logistics (RPL) offers asset management and reverse logistics with a specific emphasis on packaging (pallets, corrugated boxes, reusable plastic containers and shrink wrap). The company has two facilities to recycle wood and industrial plastic waste.

“This is an evolution of a full circle service,” says Rodewald. “In addition to tracking assets, customers work with us to manage their waste. We turn their waste streams into a value-add.”

RPL’s Pennsylvania micro-mill takes 100% post-consumer pallet wood waste, grinds it, mixes it with formaldehyde-free binding resin, and subjects the blend to heat and pressure. “Typically, pallet wood waste is converted into low-value fuel or mulch,” explains Rodewald. “This process yields a usable building material similar to particle board.”

Both boards and manufacturing process are in the process of gaining Forest Stewardship Council certification and California Air Resources Board (CARB) II compliance. The sustainable boards can be used for green construction or manufacture of laminated furniture. Or, in the ideal closed-loop system, “boards made from wood waste generated in a retailer’s supply chain could be re-directed back for the manufacture of furniture marketed in their stores, as shelving in their warehouses or as display fixtures,” he adds.

Similarly, in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., an RPL facility provides closed-loop recycling by processing post-industrial, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic and converting it into regrind material that can be reused in plastics manufacturing processes.

“Before the recession, there was an increasing emphasis on sustainability. Now, companies are looking at it as another way to reduce operating costs—and waste is a large expense,” he says. “We help identify items of value in a waste stream, or find ways to further maximize that value. And it’s good for the environment, too.”

Read more Packaging Corner columns.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Despite advances in process automation, vital business processes consisting of data-driven tasks such as collecting, reviewing, and inputting information still exist in most organizations. These tasks are mundane, repetitive and... okay, boring.

Pressure-senstitive labeling machinery company expands Accraply's products and markets.

The new tire handling systems group will offer a variety of services including design engineering, project management, site supervision, controls, software, automated storage and retrieval, and custom manufacturing solutions specific to the tire industry.

New facility to house more than 300 engineers, project managers, sales, customer service and administrative staff.

Material handling parts distributor acquires Mid-Atlantic industrial safety distributor.

About the Author

Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News as an Editor at Large since 2001. Specter has worked in the fields of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for nearly 20 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. She owns her own marketing communications firm, Sara Specter, Marketing Mercenary LLC. Clients include companies in a diverse range of fields, including materials handing equipment, systems and packaging, professional and financial services, regional economic development and higher education. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky. with a bachelor’s degree in French and history. She lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley where she and her husband are in the process of establishing a vineyard and winery.


© Copyright 2016 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA