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Welcome to sustainable packaging with Cory Connors today's guests are something very different than we've done before. And I'm excited to talk about it because it's an aspect of the world of packaging. That is incredibly important. I'd like to introduce Mr. Bruce Wilder. Who's a regional sales manager for precision air convey. And Mr. Tom Embley , who's the president and CEO. How are you?Bruce Wilder:
Good. Thanks. Thank you veryCory Connors:
well. We really appreciate you guys coming on the show. It's a, it's an aspect of packaging and manufacturing, really that a lot of people don't think about. And I I'd like to to start by just a quick. Couple of minutes, you know, Bruce I know a little bit about your background, but I'd like you to just tell us where you, you know, how you got into packaging a little bit about your journey and then we'll go.Bruce Wilder:
Perfect. Thanks for asking Corey. Yeah, I got into packaging as the paper industry was somewhat declining in 2006 hired by 3m to be in the packaging specialist and You know, sealing boxes and automation of facilities. And it has been fun. I was a lot of fun. Got to see a lot crazy things, go into boxes from airplane parts to sheep's blood. I mean their shit. Wow. I saw it all. And then left 3m and having. Be picked up and hired by precision air convey. And what really fascinated me was the back end and the process and manufacturing and what happens in the whole gamut. And. Going back to my old days of packaging, the back end can never be the slowest part of the plant. And so it's it was fascinating and having background labels and paper, and it was just like, okay, this could be really cool. Cause there's some neat aspects. And one thing's led to another that, you know, the sustainability pieces become a very big part.Cory Connors:
Yeah. And that was really fun. Getting to know you those years, when you worked at 3m, you were, you, you're our rep and you took good care of us. We always appreciated your wisdom. Thank you. Thank you. And Tom, tell us about your story, sir.Tom Embley:
Well, Corey, my story is not nearly as exciting as Bruce. Mine's pretty monotone. I actually got into this 35 years ago. Senior. I'm a mechanical engineer graduating from the university of Delaware. My senior design professor happened own a portion of the business, the original business that this business was founded on. And when I graduated from college, they offered me a job as the first full-time employee in the business. Yeah, I've been, I've been riding that horse ever since. So that's excellent for that. Been a long journey. Yeah.Cory Connors:
I love to hear those stories when, when people can find a career that they just love and stick with it and well done. Thank you. Thank you. So let's talk about precision air. What you guys do is really unique. And I think it's important. I think a lot of our listeners and a lot of our listeners companies will, will want to reach out to you after this show because you guys can add a lot of value. Can you tell us about w you know, what it is that you're focusing.. Tom Embley:
Sure. You know , we, we've always been in waste management. We've always been in handling, handling the waste and, and, you know, probably 20, some years ago, 25, 30 years ago, we realized that we could actually , get more into the recycling side of the business and produce more sustainable solution. So really what , our niche is. Is where we're more custom engineered than, than what you typically see in, in our industry. And we find ways to get a better return for our customers, right? Whether it's , less horsepower or or smaller footprints or faster speeds, but we try to get an edge by just producing something that's has a little more ROI for, for the end-user.Cory Connors:
And Bruce, any other comments on that or?Bruce Wilder:
Well, I think Tom makes a great point. We're trying to help people use less energy to use less raw materials. And as I tell people, nobody likes to take out the trash every day. I had to do it last night, but it's you know, we can help them in their efficiencies. And there's a lot of little things that add up and it's a lot of fun when Meets or exceeds somebodies expectations.Cory Connors:
Yeah. You've told me some stories, Bruce, that blew me away. And I was so excited to have you guys on this show. Not only you guys are being very modest by the way, what you do is incredibly important to the industry. And I think with the onset of extended producer responsibility is going to be an incredible to the sustainability of a company and get them to that next level on the chart to, to satisfy their promises and, and their goals in the world of sustainability. So any idea on how many tons of materials that you guys have pulled out of the landfill or diverted from the landfill? Even just maybe one example.Tom Embley:
You know that's an interesting question. I actually did some noodling on the, on the back of a, of a napkin and, you know, in a, in a, in an extrusion process it's not unusual and this is one of our unique advantages. It's not unusual for our customers to be recycling up to 35%. On a production line, right. And, and a production lines producing a couple of thousand pounds an hour of material. So, so, you know, make it, make it round number, say 30%, that's 600 pounds an hour. And that's one customer that takes that waste and, and, and full circle puts it right back into, in, into the, into the packaging, into the sheet product. And so you know, It's it's hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. I mean, I looked at it more like, and just looking at our customers that are keeping it out of landfill. So either converting it , to a fuel pellet or, or reprocessing it it's, it's somewhere above 250 million pounds a year. We're a little tiny company, right? I had never done that calculation before, but we have 250 million pounds a year of, of raw materials that, that are somehow being recycled, either thermally or directly back into packaging. It's, you know, , it made me smile. ItCory Connors:
made me smile. It's it's so important that we, we look at those big picture numbers and you know, that's a number you could put on your website and advertise be, become a part of the revolution. Right? It's true. Yeah. I I just had trucks on the podcast and they have recycled 1 billion with a B pounds of plastic. Wow. Amazing. What, what the companies like you and them and all of these different companies are doing very quietly over here on the side. But it's so critical that we continue this, this product. Well,Tom Embley:
that's, what's cool about that is they're only talking to you. I would imagine about the post-consumer that comes in the back end of that facility, you know, on, on the, on the manufacturing side, we we've actually, we're doing some recycling for them. Right? We've got equipment in their facilities through, through, through a third party, but it's we're, we're on the front end of their production lines. And some of that, that waste that they produce in the trimmings and things like that.Cory Connors:
Yeah, that's it. It's incredible. And Bruce you've told me a story about some, some webbing from like a label machine or something like that. Can you, can you speak to that? I thought that was really interesting.Bruce Wilder:
Yeah. Worked on a project that having existing system of a called Venturis and they were getting new presses. They knew it. Wouldn't not keep up and speed with their existing system and we're able to build a new system and engineer it. So one, they use less energy in the plant, keep it cooler and quieter, but also to the we extracted the trim and waste off their label. Stock is vendors and an article coming out about it RR Donneley and in Visalia, California, wonderful people. And. They took it to a compactor. And then the city of Visalia came to them, said, well, can we re we'd like to see if we can recycle it. And by doing so, they've saved them over $70,000 in re cost of dumping as well as not going into a landfill is being recycled. And you know, Conversation yesterday with the gentlemen, you say, well, how do you keep it from sticking to everything? Well, Tom had developed a process to atomize the mineral oil, which is a very neutralizing and the types of technology we use in our system. They've run a year without clogging 24 7. So it's you know, they're saving a lot of energy as well as they've been able to promote their people to higher valued jobs and affect the quality and stop using forklifts and tearing up their building and they have a lot safer. So there's a little things that add up in the process.Cory Connors:
That's incredible. I didn't even think about the safety advantages as well and massive cost savings, driving dollars, right to the bottom line for companies. Excellent. Do you work with a lot of label printers or printers?Bruce Wilder:
Yes, we do not to interrupt Tom, but yes, we do. We work with of every size, whether one press system, two buildings, fleets of systems and, and, and paper companies film, packaging, film companies we've even done a carbon fiber plan. OhCory Connors:
yeah. I didn't know. You could recycle carbon.Bruce Wilder:
They actually do inside, they remelt it and reuse it. That's why they wanted to system bail would capture it.Cory Connors:
That's amazing. What would you say is a normal return on investment for, for one of your systems? Have you calculated those numbers?Bruce Wilder:
Well, typically we try to gear it towards a year, but sometimes you'll see it fast. We want to under promise and over deliver. So a lot, a lot of customers we'll see that sometimes faster than that. And but we try to hone in on that year and be consistent with that. And everybody has a unique story. So it's going to be, there's no hard, fast rule, but everybody's needs and what their, what their processes are, is going to impact that highly.Tom Embley:
To build on that. Corey, you know, the guys that are there that are making the baseline products, the papers, the films, not the person that's converting it into packaging. Right. That's got to go. The paper's got to go right back to the pulper. The film's got to go right back to the extruder. So, I mean, it's almost. Return right there, there, they can't afford to operate these systems there, their production lines without our types of system are our advantage is to try and do it more sustainably than our, than our competition by reducing the horsepower. We just finished a job for a brown paper manufacturer. That's, you know, the, the outside lining to a corrugated, you know Paper corrugated paper and they're producing the ways to 5,000 feet a minute. You know, these on, on four edge trims, th that's a system that, that for us was, you know, it's hard to believe it's even this high, but a hundred horsepower, but what we were, we were almost having. Of the competition's horsepower to do this job. So we're, we're all getting the waste back to the pulper, but we were able to do it in a much at a, at a, at a much lower energy cost fit to the point where the customer actually had is bump up our numbers for a safety factor to get you, we believe you, but can we just put a little bit bigger motors on, like, you're not going to use the power? So, so that's a, that's a And an advantage that we like to bring. And then the fact that on a lot of these cases, I know Bruce has shared with you that we can reduce the amount of waste, right? Because of the process, which is you know, in some of this waste does have to end up in landfill at this point, if it doesn't get converted to energy And that's changing that is actively changing. And it's being driven by the consumer product companies really. But there's a lot of different ways to save. Sorry, I got kind of jumped all overCory Connors:
already. That's that's what it's all about. We want to hear about these machines. We want to hear about. In a ways to save energy ways to save money, ways to save the environment. It's all, you know, we always say there's nothing sustainable about going out of business. And I think this is incredible point to make that so many people think that being sustainable is more. When I am finding more times than not in this show, that being sustainable will save you money and it will increase, increase your safety levels. It will. I mean, it's incredible. $70,000 for one system. I have a savings. That's amazing, Bruce. Wow. Well done. I mean, it's, it's just, you guys are doing good things. I was really excited to have you here. Go ahead.Bruce Wilder:
Well, I've just got to say, well, am I working with a new client and prospect? And he makes, he has a poly film and I'm not the expert in films, but I took his film sample to another company. Who is a prospect. I said, can you handle this and recycle it? And they're now talking to each other and it looks like he's going to absorb that material and start down cycling it, making it into pellets, or you know, that they use an Aqua culture and cement. So it's instead of going to a landfill or it cannot because it's already been. It's now going to be used in a down cycle format to be used for another product.Cory Connors:
The kind of story we'd like to hear and there are, so it is, it is so energy intensive to get the materials out, the raw materials out that first time that, you know what I mean from the, you know, they talk about aluminum, you know recycling, it is so much more efficient than, than, than mining it. And that's, I think one of the reasons why. It's such an amazing material, but there are so many stories like this that we're continuing to hear because it's a huge cost savings to and you know, not just the green, not just the sustainable but we're also driving green dollar bills into their hands, which is makes, makes us all feel good that we're doing all of these things and saving money wellBruce Wilder:
done. Well, I always like to say. We have an opportunity to leave a better environmental footprint for my children and my grandchildren. Then our parents left us and, you know, some people can argue with that, but I think we are because of formats like this and the things that we're doing we're helping little big steps, but we're getting, we're doing something I think in a positive direction.Cory Connors:
Yes. Yes. And we need to do that every day and everything we're doing and look at things differently and we can make a huge, positive impact on the environment. I agree. So Tom, I wanted to talk about extended producer responsibility. Are you seeing an influx in business because of that coming?Tom Embley:
Oh, no question. You know, w w we, we play a couple of different roles in that. One is direct recycling, which we've kind of talked about that the other is, you know, a lot of, a lot of companies. Recycled their own facility or to like the Bruce's point on that last application where he's got a customer that can outsource that material to somebody else and has value to them. Well, well now you've got to get 40,000 pounds in a trailer or, you know, you're, you're diminishing your ROI. So a lot of what we do is, you know, we, we have a partner who's very passionate and and actually Corey should be on your. Channel resources out of Chicago, but are just passionate about partnering with manufacturers to create more sustainable waste solutions. And he likes to come to us and say, cause you're you're, you're my, you're my packaging company. And you take all this waste and it's all over the production floor, all over the facility and you gather it and pack it. Into a product that we can now ship, whether it be a bail, typically it's a bail, or sometimes it's a, it's a briquette that we make. But, but it's typically us getting it into a form that they can get enough onto a truck that they can afford. Yeah, the transportation call. So what we're seeing is, is changing in substrates. The great example that, that, that consumers know about is, you know water bottles, note on grab a paper label that label on that bottle is made out of the same product that the bottles made out of. And that's for that's for recycling purposes. Sub straights being changed in order to make them more recyclable, more compatible with other products. And then that gives us outlets. Sometimes it throws us a curve ball when they first came out with compostable plastics, that stuff is so abrasive. You know, we went from, from, you know, a one year, one year knife life on some of our cutters in granulators down to six week knife lives because of the abrasive. Now we, we addressed it and came up with different knife, materials, and coatings and stuff, but sometimes it's a curve ball that we have to scratch your head and figure out what's going on. But it's, it's, it's opening doors for us to modify products for customers, improve products, so that, because they now have an opportunity they didn't have before because the substrates is different and there is a potential reuse. So, yeah,Cory Connors:
it's incredible to think about the, the whole spectrum there. You think it's environmentally friendly and maybe it damages the equipment. Yeah. Incredible.Bruce Wilder:
Yeah. Well, and to Tom's point, the other client, you may want to think about talking to is our planet in the Los Angeles. They're taking water bottles and making new films. And we've worked on three of their lines are just completing and making new film so that water bottle never ends up in the landfill.Cory Connors:
Wow. Yeah. If you guys will send me that information, I'll definitely reach out to them. That sounds awesome. Very good people. So what are you guys excited about for the future? Anything, anything incredible coming out that you really got an eyeball on for sustainable.Tom Embley:
Bruce anything?Bruce Wilder:
Well, I think I think it's a good news story that's happening here. The, you know, the eyeballs on the industries people looking farther upstream into the companies and and the Chain of custody. It's making everybody look at hard at how things are done, why they're done. You know, there's a lot of challenges in the market around, you know, not only raw stocks, but labor building capacity, energy consumptions. So It's a lot of fun to help people fix or solve those problems that are trying to be a better steward and be a better company. It's not everybody's got a unique story. It's kinda fun to understand the why and how come and where they're possibly going to.Cory Connors:
I agree.Tom Embley:
I think it's it's yeah, this is a big country, right? And there's a, there's a, there's a lot of land. There's a lot of people, but there's a lot of land. And when you can look, compare our density to your right there, they're ahead of us on this, on this recycling curve. And and you know, selfishly, I like to think a little bit of it is just the economics of it, but they didn't have the space that, that we have in this country. And what I, what I am excited about as I, as, as things move forward is that it's, it's less about the. That return on savings of landfill cost and more focus on, on different returns. In that I see in the U S that you said early in the conversation for you, that, that the companies are realizing that this. This is a true green as in chain to chain green decision that take my company or our company. And, and so we just see, you know, our sales are up 30% from last year and they're going to be up more this year. And we see a lot of it is just a shifting of the mentality in, in, in the packaging world. It's creating opportunities.Cory Connors:
And your amazing rep, Mr. Bruce Wilder. No doubt. Yeah. Well, thank you guys. This has been a great show. I really appreciate it. I'd like to thank Landsberg Orora for sponsoring this podcast. And if you're listening, please take a second to subscribe and review. We appreciate that very much. Thank you so much, Bruce. And Tom. Appreciate it. Thank you. ThankBruce Wilder:
you. Thank you. Enjoyed it.