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Rice Lake Tackles Paper Usage For Big Green Gain

Rice Lake Weighing Systems is making a lot of lemonade with recent sour economic news, taking advantage of a brief slowdown to reorganize, regroup, and get a better grip on its day-to-day operations. Cost-reduction strategies have been enacted companywideincluding a long overdue look at the companys garbage bill.

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Rice Lake Weighing Systems is making a lot of lemonade with recent sour economic news, taking advantage of a brief slowdown to reorganize, regroup, and get a better grip on its day-to-day operations. Cost-reduction strategies have been enacted companywide—including a long overdue look at the company’s garbage bill.  

Roughly 360 employees spend their day at Rice Lake’s 232,000 square-foot manufacturing plant. By the end of 2008 these employees were disposing of an exceptional amount of paper. And it wasn’t just office paper. Paper towels flowed into the garbage bins of more than 16 bathrooms and into a giant 44 yard trash compactor, stuffing it over and over again with an average of 14 tons of garbage per month.

Chief Operations Officer Steve Parkman is always looking for opportunities to improve. “Each time our trash compactor gets emptied it costs us money. It affects our bottom line and our ability to stay competitive. Environmentally we have a responsibility to do our part. It’s time to take a step in the right direction, and it’s going to make us stronger as a company too.”

In March of 2009 Rice Lake began to more firmly manage recycling of white paper waste. Collection bins were positioned around the building, next to every copier and at every desk. Policies were put in place to reduce, reuse and recycle. Soon mixed paper was added to the program. Junk mail, catalogs and magazines could now be spared from the compactor too.

By mid-year, employees also saw changes to their nearest restroom. Paper-towel dispensers were removed and replaced with high-efficiency hand dryers. They took some getting used to. But these models were chosen for good reason. They’re hands free, and they work quickly with a powerful blast of air—using 80% less energy than conventional hand dryers. The company now purchases just a fraction of the paper towels they have in the past.

These efforts are yielding big gains for Rice Lake Weighing Systems. The fourteen tons of waste Rice Lake formerly averaged per month has now been reduced to just over eight. “That’s 41% less waste going to our trash compactor, and to the landfills,” according to Parkman. And the savings couldn’t have come at a better time.

Rice Lake Weighing Systems is looking forward to 2010. As business stabilizes and returns to normal levels the company hopes to be better off than ever before. Finances aside, the benefits are already tremendous.

Source: Rice Lake