Lipton shares zero-landfill story

Published 9:34 pm Thursday, November 5, 2009

It’s been about six months since a garbage truck carried trash to the landfill from the Lipton Tea factory on W. Washington Street, and a group of employees celebrated on Thursday by sharing their secrets.

“We wanted to help other companies and spread the good news” about environmental sustainability, Plant Manager Ted Narozny said following a program at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

About 50 area business and industry leaders, including several people who have been instrumental in helping the company meet its environmental goals, listened to a presentation Thursday morning on the Suffolk Lipton plant’s achievement of its zero-landfill goal.

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The event had been organized by the Suffolk Department of Economic Development. Narozny and employees who are members of Lipton’s “R3 (Reduce, Reuse & Recycle) Team” joined suppliers and partners in explaining how the company has been able to use composting, renewable energy, increased recycling and conservation to eliminate landfill waste.

Those attending learned that, with a little bit of planning and some flexibility, a broad-based sustainability program can help save the environment and even save the company money.

Lipton, Narozny said, is now saving about $100,000 a year in net costs.

Additionally, he said, employees have estimated that the company’s increased recycling efforts will result in 2,609 tons of recycled material, which equates to an annual savings of:

16 tons of plastic, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 13.76 tons;

21,182 mature trees, or about 262 million sheets of newsprint;

576,898 gallons of oil, enough to heat and cool 2,856 homes for a year;

29,904 gallons of gasoline, enough to drive more than 837,000 miles in an average American car;

8,722,000 gallons of water, enough to meet the daily fresh water needs of 116,293 Americans;

And 5,108,600 kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to supply the annual electrical needs of more than 425 homes.

“Anything we can do to help the environment is a good thing,” Narozny said.

Employees have been excited about the program, he added, submitting more than 70 ideas to help the company achieve its zero-landfill status. As the program gained steam during the past couple of years, employees became more and more interested.

One group even made regular trips to the composting company in Waverly to sort through garbage to find things that might have been mistakenly sent there.

“If you really want to get to zero-landfill (status), you are never going to get there without employee involvement,” he said.