The North Coast Container Blog

Innovation in Sustainable Operation

Kyle Stavig figured the question was worth asking.

As he toured one of his firm’s three Portland plants, the new CEO of Myers
Container LLC noticed it was discharging 30,000 gallons of water each day.
What would it take to stop the outflow?

He expected the answer to be $10 million and 100 days. When he heard it
would take only $10,000 and 30 days, approving the move was a no-brainer.
“Part of being a leader is you don’t know the answer, but you ask the
question,” Stavig said.

Myers, which manufacturers and recycles steel drums and industrial plastic
containers, now filters and reuses water at the plant before hauling it to a
waste-treatment facility.

It’s one of many ways the north Portland company promotes sustainability
and part of the reason Myers Container deserves recognition for its sustainable operations.

Unlike competitors, Myers has adopted a full-lifestyle approach to its
products. It makes, collects, cleans and recycles its containers, which are used
by various industries to house “some really nasty stuff” Stavig said.

To clean used containers, Myers has developed a proprietary process that
generates 50 percent less greenhouse gases and consumes 50 percent less
energy. To improve sustainability, Myers replaced solvent paints used on
drums with more environmentally friendly water-based paint.

Last year Myers recycled its sixth millionth pound of industrial plastic. Since he
took charge in 2007, Stavig estimated the firm has diverted more than 80
million pounds of steel, plastic and other waste materials from landfills.

The company was in the first cohort of 12 firms to participate in a pilot Energy
Improvement Program sponsored by the Energy Trust of Oregon, which has
reduced Myers’ annual energy use by about 8 percent.

Today Myers sets quarterly facility goals, and incentivizes managers to meet
targets for reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

“I really have to commend them. They were one of the rst companies to step
up to the plate,” said Martin Lott, a senior associate with the Strategic Energy
Group, which administered the EIP for Energy Trust.

Myers strives to be green in other ways as well. When it was time to refurbish
its three Portland facilities, Myers used paint scraped from plastic buckets it
recycles for Metro Paint — an organization that collects household paint in
the Portland area.

“Myers Container is a good example of a company that delivers on the promise
of sustainability,” said Kim Crossman, industry and agriculture sector lead for
Energy Trust of Oregon. “Their service allows their customers to be more
sustainable, and their interest in energy eciency shows their commitment to
operate in a sustainable manner.”

Though proud of the strides, Stavig is not ready to rest on his laurels. He
recently purchased three facilities in North Carolina, where the concept of
sustainability is “emerging,” he said. And he wants to experiment with solar
power and other renewable energy alternatives to reduce electricity use at the
Portland plants.

“Sustainability is a journey. The most important thing is that leadership needs
to stake out true north and say, ‘This is where we’re going,’” Stavig said.

Myers Container is well on its way.


Read the orignal article on the Portland Business Journal website:

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