Wisconsin DNR Green Tier Newsletter Spotlights Fredman Bag

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and their Green Tier program recently highlighted Fredman Bag and our sustainability efforts in their newsletter.

Fredman Bag, a Green Tier participant since 2012, is a manufacturer of custom flexible packaging products for consumer goods, as well as promotional and specialty applications. They have a strong commitment to recycling and reuse that began when they were founded over 130 years ago. In the beginning, they bought back used burlap bags from farmers and feed mills to be repaired then resold again and again. As the company has grown and evolved, that same commitment to recycling has remained a top priority.

In 2016, it achieved landfill free status that continues to today. They have gone from a total of 35 tons/year of solid waste in 2012 to zero since 2016 with a total 100% reduction while increasing the amount of waste recycled from just over 20,000 lbs in the baseline year of 2012 to 504,000 lbs in 2022.

Fredman has also been able to reduce universal waste by nearly 57% in 2021 from the baseline year of 2012. The conversion to LED plays a big role in this progress as fewer fluorescent bulbs and ballasts are being thrown out. They also have reduced this volume by recycling electronic wastes and removing hydraulic oil and waste from its processes with equipment upgrades.

Recycling also plays a part in reducing their hazardous waste by over 34% in 2022 from the baseline year of 2012. The usage life of clean-up solvents is extended using the solvent recycler.

An additional outcome that serves as a benefit to the environment but is difficult to measure, is that they no longer need to have compactors and collection bins located outside the building for waste and refuse. This eliminates any potential for waste run-off from these bins.

Not only does Fredman see an improved environmental impact through their recycling efforts, they also obtain an economic benefit from them. They have lowered costs associated with compacted waste removal and increased overall sales by selling recycled items.

To maintain their recycling results and keep up employee interest and engagement, Fredman tracks waste carefully and monitors recycling using a daily scorecard. These efforts & practices for sustaining their zero waste to landfill are “an excellent demonstration of how an EMS (environmental management system) can work for business!”, reported Jim Mueller, PE, CHMM, ASP, Elm Consulting Group International, LLC, Fredman Bag’s EMS auditor.

They also earned a Department of Natural Resources 2020 Wisconsin Recycling Excellence Award, recognizing their continued work to maintain their land-fill free status.

Thank you for your commitment to waste reduction and keep up the good work moving forward!