FLORENCE, KY. (April 20, 2005) – LaJuana S. Wilcher, secretary of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, today toured a company in Florence that demonstrates the importance and potential of recycling.
Signode Plastic Recycling Alliance, A Division of Signode Consumable Products, manufactures strapping material from recycled bottles made of the plastic known as PET – polyethylene teraphthalate. The material is widely used to make containers for soft drinks, mouthwash, peanut butter and salad dressings, among other products.
Signode buys 35,000 tones of PET each year from every state except California and from Mexico City. Most of the PET is in the form of recovered drink bottles. There is some post-industrial PET waste from bottlers and Signode’s own recovered strapping. The PET is sent through four processes to remove contaminants and finally washed in water.
The plant employs about 47 people in recycling and about 70 in manufacturing. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The strapping is sold primarily to packaging companies, with much of it eventually recovered. About 40 percent is sold to the construction industry.
“Recycling is not only good for the environment. Recycling is also tied to creating jobs in the economy,” Wilcher said. “Bottles, cans, cardboard, newspapers and plastics all have value and should be recycled. We need to show our Unbridled Spirit in protecting our environment by recycling."
Since instituting its recycling program in the mid-1980s, Signode has recycled hundreds of millions of pounds of polyester strapping and PET bottles into Signode Tenax strapping. Its recycling program is one of the largest in the country.
Kentuckians will join others across the world in celebrating Earth Day on Friday, April 22. Spearheaded by the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, a number of state agencies, local governments, businesses and organizations have joined together to celebrate Earth Day. Some of these partners have organized environmental activities throughout the month of April while others are providing information and resources on protecting Kentucky’s environment.
This is the second year in a row for a month-long, organized campaign in celebration of Earth Day. Among activities planned are hikes, special events, college campus programs, collection of cell phones for recycling and demonstrations of new, environmentally friendly technology. Visit the state Earth Day Web site at www.environment.ky.gov/earthday to learn more about Kentucky's Earth Day celebration.