Northfield Metal Products – Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Northfield Metal Products earned Eco Initiative registration in August 2016 and it was much deserved. The Eco Initiative team at branch 1200 has driven a program complete with meaningful impact-reduction efforts that are backed by excellent employee involvement.

Like most facilities, one of the first goals set by Northfield was to implement a basic recycling program for items such as cardboard, plastic, paper, etc., which are sent to an outside recycling company. However, one of the major sustainability accomplishments at Northfield is the nylon re-grind project, which is an in-house recycling effort. The facility produces custom injection-molded parts on 40 molding machines. This process utilizes virgin nylon plastic pellets to form a variety of parts. As with any process, a certain amount of scrap is produced. The re-grinder has allowed the facility to process their own scrap nylon back into reusable nylon pellets. Northfield has now attained a 10% reduction in virgin nylon consumption and recycled over 168 tons of nylon plastic in 2015.

Other projects at the facility include changing from a solvent-based cleaner to an eco-friendly, water-soluble cleaning solution, and participation in a community cleanup event at the nearby Snyder-Gingrich Pond.

Effective communication with employee-partners is essential to maintaining a strong Eco Initiative program, and the team at Northfield has certainly proved their communication efforts effective. The facility began their employee awareness program with a basic form of communication: a letter to employees explaining the program and goals, an Eco Initiative bulletin board, and a kickoff event. They didn’t stop there. Recycling and waste containers were labeled with the types of items that could be placed in each container to avoid confusion. Additionally, the team provided a full copy of the facility’s Eco Initiative manual to be available in the lunch room. With this, employees are able to review documentation of all aspects of the program and stay informed of how they can do their part. The most notable form of communication the facility provides is their quarterly branch newsletter. The newsletters provide information on a variety of topics including environmental sustainability, safety, employee events and accomplishments, and production highlights.