Recycled Materials Complete the Circle in Tennessee
Florim USA and Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations connect through the Tennessee Materials Marketplace to close the loop on end-of-life materials
Americans dispose of some 10 million metric tons of reusable materials, like glass, annually. Most of it ends up in the landfill, and only about one-third gets recycled. That’s not because of some intrinsic materials or chemical property that makes materials like plastic and glass difficult to recycle, but rather a reflection of a very challenging interplay between collection processes, market supply and demand, and rising freight costs to move material in the US.
“Glass is 100% recyclable,” says Robert Weisenburger Lipetz, executive director of the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council (GMIC), a nonprofit trade association. “It has an unlimited life and can be melted and recycled endlessly to make new glass products with no loss in quality,” he adds.
The difficulty is that most processes that can use recycled glass need it to be clean, sorted by color, and/or meet some minimal contamination requirements. This is difficult for our single-stream recycling systems in the US to produce. Glass is also very heavy, making it difficult for manufacturers to source recycled glass at a manageable cost.
That being said, there are some very creative companies right here in Tennessee finding ways to “mine” this valuable material.
In Clarksville, TN, Florim USA is producing large format porcelain tiles that offer surfaces for all requirements in architecture, interior design and building construction. The American subsidiary of the Florim Group, based in Italy, Florim USA is one of the largest and most technologically advanced porcelain facilities in North America. The process they use is considered “closed-loop,” with all waste generated throughout the six processing operations recycled back through the system.
Not only that, but they can and do utilize a variety of post-consumer and post-industrial materials as a raw material in their tiles, replacing various virgin raw materials. They are committed to producing high-quality products in an efficient and environmentally sustainable manner, constantly exploring the latest technological advances and best management practices. Active material exploration is one reason they are an engaged participant in the Tennessee Materials Marketplace.
"At Florim we are focused on the environment and its sustainability. Post-consumer material is an aspect of the process that Don Haynes and his team have been working on for several years. We are now very proud to be able to use post-consumer materials in all of our tiles," said Marco Fregni, CEO at Florim USA.
Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations is a full-service electronics and materials lifecycle management company with locations in Onalaska, Wisconsin and Nashville, Tennessee. They have years of experience managing the unique risks and regulations of organizations seeking to safely participate in recycling, while safeguarding sensitive data and protecting the environment from e-waste and other pollutants by closing the loop for all sorts of electronic devices.
One of the challenges Dynamic has managed to tackle is end-of-life materials from electronics. Dynamic utilizes a proprietary process to separate the different kinds of components of electronic wastes, and as a result is producing millions of pounds of recyclable materials in clean commodity form.
Dynamic is also an active user on the Tennessee Materials Marketplace. While working on the platform to identify opportunities for buying used gaylord boxes, they noticed that Florim USA had posted a “wanted material” listing detailing specific post-consumer materials they could use in their manufacturing process. Once connected, it didn’t take long for the two parties to see the potential for a reuse application, especially as they began to explore the logistics of the deal.
Dynamic’s trucks regularly make the trip from Wisconsin to their location in Nashville, TN to pick up recyclable items needing special processing. They can now make one productive loop - taking full truckloads of material south, and returning north with full truckloads of materials from their Nashville facility.
Both companies see this as a significant win, the regions they serve and for the Tennessee Materials Marketplace. The application makes financial sense, environmental sense and it demonstrates how important the right connections can be. As often happens, both companies are beginning to explore other materials and improved methods of delivery and packaging that will smooth the process even more.
Is your company looking to source by-products and recycled materials to use in your products, or establish new end-markets for existing materials? The Tennessee Materials Marketplace may be able to help. It’s quick and easy to get engaged - click here get set up in our program today.