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CPBJ Extra Blog

Recycling candy bars and knights

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Throw more fuel on the fire!

Or rather, throw those unwanted candy bars in the furnace.

The Hershey Co. this week said it has successfully transitioned two more factories, including its Lancaster facility, to zero-waste-to-landfill (ZWL) status. That means those facilities are not sending production waste to landfills and instead are recycling or using such waste to fuel waste-to-energy incinerators.

Hershey's recycling rate is about 90 percent, the company said. And eight of its facilities, including the Lancaster, West Hershey and Reese plants, as well as Chocolate World (the last three in Derry Township, Dauphin County), are now ZWL status, putting the company far ahead of its sustainability goals.

Hershey audits and sustains its ZWL status internally, spokeswoman Laura Renaud said. Food waste, cardboard, paper, shrink wrap, banding, drums, foil, plastics, pallets, batteries and oil are all recycled.

Soiled packaging, floor sweepings, cafe waste (Hershey's factories have cafes!!?? Cool.), and nonrecyclable packaging are all incinerated, she said.

"Sustainability is one of the issues we've identified as important for manufacturing to be successful in this century," said John Lloyd, president and CEO of York-based manufacturing consultants Mantec.

Reducing waste streams in manufacturing isn't just about saving the environment or being a good corporate citizen, Lloyd said. It's also about improving the profitability of a company by reducing its costs.

Raw materials for production are more expensive than recycled scrap from the process, and sending waste to landfills costs money. Cut those costs and companies make more money per item produced, Lloyd said.

Companies interested in such sustainability can contact Mantec or other consultants with significant experience in zero-landfill sustainability, engineering and manufacturing, Lloyd said.

Consultants offering such services should be able to certify that a company has reached standards under ISO 14000 and ISO 50000, Lloyd said.

"There are good examples of companies doing (zero waste to landfill) out there, and they're not always the mega, multinational corporations," he said.

While I'm unaware of their specific certifications, York Imperial Plastics Inc. automatically recycles its scrap plastic into its injection molding machines. Here's my recent video at the company:

Charlemagne's Paladins

I was surfing the wide world of Twitter the other day and stumbled upon a tweet — more specifically, a retweet — from BAE Systems that updated the status of the Paladin mobile artillery units the company is working on with the Army. Here is that tweet:

So, it looks like the Army is fairly impressed with the Paladin following years of testing the tracked, tank-like, Howitzer cannons.

Essentially, this latest update or "milestone C" means that the Paladin can begin the production and deployment phases, according to an Army Ground Combat Systems press release.

That means in 2014 the Army will buy 133 total vehicles, which will include the Paladins and tracked ammunition carriers, it said.

This all is very sweet music to BAE's ears, because they were contracted to remanufacture the Paladin test fleet, replacing the chassis, engine, transmission, suspension, steering, and survivability systems with upgraded mechanics and technology. Some of these parts are the same used for the Bradley Fighting Vehicles.

The Army's announcement doesn't constitute a contract with BAE for this latest round of production, said Randy Coble, a spokesman for BAE's York County facility where the Paladins were being upgraded. However, it is the next step toward full production of the remanufactured cannons set to begin in 2017.

It looks like BAE's knight-in-shining-armor just rode through the factory door.

Funny enough, a "paladin" is exactly that, a knight. The term was used for Charlemagne's most-trusted warriors — similar in lore to the Knights of the Roundtable — who helped expand the Frankish ruler's empire across Europe in the eighth and ninth centuries.

Remember that one for the next time it comes up in a Trivial Pursuit question. And then wow your friends with your knowledge of contemporary military hardware.

You're welcome.

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