As part of Vortex’s continuous commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, the company recently participated in a Solutions-Based Customer Recycling Award Program (S.C.R.A.P) to recycle its surplus plastic materials. Through the S.C.R.A.P program, Vortex was able to benefit both its bottom line and reduce its ecological footprint within the last year. Vortex achieved Cope Plastics’ Green Level Milestone Award in March 2016 by diverting 50,000 pounds of industrial plastic from landfills, and looks forward to many future opportunities to make a positive environmental impact.
“Not only does Vortex save on disposal costs and get a rebate for their material, but they are a crucial component of the big picture solution,” said Jama Fabry, recycling sales representative at Cope Plastics. “Vortex’s recycling contribution is part of 2.5 million pounds of plastics that were kept out of American landfills last year, and were instead put back in the production stream. Their efforts are very worthy of being recognized.”
For Vortex, plastics recycling is just one of many ways that the company and its employees like to improve the environment we live in. Vortex also recycles its metals, such as stainless steel, carbon steel and aluminum leftover from the imprints for cutting out pieces for its valves. The metals are sorted and sent to Hess & Sons Salvage in Junction City, Kansas, USA. Vortex also installed a vacuum system for its industrial laser cutters and CNC machines. The vacuum system captures metal dust particles, in order to collect unnecessary waste and create a cleaner work environment. Vortex reports these contributions as part of its required reporting to the Kansas Department of Health & Environment.
All aerosol cans used in Vortex’s manufacturing plant are also recycled. Once an aerosol can has been exasperated, employees are instructed to dispose of them in a 55-gallon drum. This dedicated drum is equipped with a charcoal filter, attached to the drum head. It also has a special attachment to puncture the bottom of the can. Once full, the drum is taken away to recycle with the rest of the steel in the plant.
Just this year, Vortex also started separating solids from liquids in its tumblers and CNC machines. This is done with a centrifugal filter, so the solids can be disposed of as non-hazardous waste and the water can be reused in the tumblers.
Since oil can contaminate anything it touches, Vortex takes great care in handling it. The oil and water used at Vortex’s manufacturing plant are separated in the receiving department. All oil is collected in drums for recycling. Those drums are then taken away to a recycling center, where it is later resold to other companies as burning fuel.
Oil rags used for machine maintenance and polishing are also separated and recycled after use. This is easily done by designating colored rags for each purpose. Red rags are used for oil, dirt and grime, while blue rags are used for solvents. Used rags are collected weekly and sent to Western Uniform for launder, so that they are ready for use the following week.
Other chemicals at Vortex’s facilities are closely monitored on a daily basis. The acetone used to clean equipment in the paint booth is collected in barrels and filtered by a Becca solvent distillation recycling system. Solid, paint-related waste is removed from the thinner, and up to 99 percent of the acetone can be reused. Before recycling, Vortex was using 55 gallons of acetone every month. Now that they are filtering and reusing the acetone, Vortex can stretch a 55-gallon barrel of acetone to last seven months.
Safety-Kleen picks up, transports and disposes of most of Vortex’s solid and/or hazardous wastes. Safety-Kleen also helps Vortex recycle light bulbs. Vortex uses green-energy fluorescent lighting in the shop and the offices. The energy-efficient light bulbs not only are known to last longer, but also have a lower level of mercury. When a light bulb does expire, Safety-Kleen takes the bulbs away to its factory and crushes them – salvaging the glass, ballast, and aluminum end caps.
Vortex’s offices are eco-friendly in many other ways. Outdated electronics are recycled through the City of Salina’s e-waste program, cardboard from vendor packaging is recycled through Salina Waste Systems, and recycle bins are placed in multiple areas to collect office paper, which is recycled on a monthly basis.
Through these efforts, Vortex is committed to its community, conserving resources and protecting the environment. As part of Vortex’s core values of respect, integrity, passion and humility, Vortex is willing and eager to reduce its ecological footprint so there will be a healthy world for future generations.