Water isn’t just vital to our health. It’s an essential part of our agricultural needs. Without it, nothing can grow.
At the FGS Carton Plant in Ontario, California, water plays an equally important role.
“We make our own starch, which is the glue that bonds paper and cardboard,” explains Steve Moore, General Manager of the Carton Plant since 2015. “It’s 70% water. The boiler needs water, too. So do our wash-up systems and all the hoses that we turn on inside the plant. They all use water.”
Last year, Moore’s team produced 1.6 billion square feet of corrugated boxes alone. It takes a lot of H20 to create that much packaging. As an FGS employee for nearly a decade, Moore stands by the company’s commitment to reduce waste, conserve resources, and increase sustainability. That’s why he’s so proud of the Carton Plant’s water use — or, more specifically, its water reuse.
“We treat and reuse 100% of our wastewater,” he says. “We discharge zero water out to the city of Ontario. We don’t even have pipes leading to the city sewage. We keep it all in-house.”
The recycling process involves removing any solids from the used water — including the inks, starches, and grease that are all byproducts of corrugated construction — before recycling that water back into the Carton Plant’s various systems. The solids are treated and reused, too, and any spare water is stored on-site in two large drums. For Moore, the sustainability measures help keep him connected to the California fields and orchards that produce much of the nation’s food. “It’s very important to us, as fruit growers, to be socially responsible to the environment,” he says.
The Carton Plant’s efforts to conserve resources go far beyond the factory’s water systems. “All our scrap is recycled and sold off to paper mills, so there’s no waste in our process,” Moore adds. “100% of our excess trim is recycled, repurposed, and turned back into corrugated sheet. From an environmental perspective, we do a great job of reusing our resources.”
He always wants to clear up a misconception about the corrugation business. “I don’t want people to think ‘every box made is another tree cut down,'” he says. “Most of what we use is recycled material. There’s very little virgin material here. It’s definitely not ‘a tree for every box.’ We’re reusing our waste and keeping it out of landfills.”
Are you looking for innovative packing solutions to your shipping issues? Give the FGS Carton Plant a call at 909-256-0118 or contact us here.