Sonoco Recycling awards South Carolina-based Milliken & Co. a gold-tier Sustainability Star Award for going landfill-free

HARTSVILLE, South Carolina , November 18, 2011 (press release) – Sonoco Recycling, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sonoco (NYSE: SON - News) and one of the largest packaging recyclers in North America, today announced that Milliken & Company, located in Spartanburg, S.C., has received a gold-tier Sonoco Sustainability Star Award for going landfill free.

“Milliken published an environmental policy in 1990 with a goal of zero waste to landfill as part of our company’s Pursuit of Excellence program,” said Michael Baird, senior environmental specialist, Milliken & Company. “In 1992 our first manufacturing plant achieved zero waste to landfill status, and by 1995 20 plants sent zero waste to landfill.”

In announcing the award, Jim Brown, vice president, Sonoco Recycling, said, “Milliken’s sustainability goals match up well with our Company’s focus on environmental responsibility, and it is an honor to recognize them with our gold-tier Sonoco Sustainability Star Award.”

To achieve landfill-free status, each location created a baseline by quantifying their solid waste, categorized by type and destination, such as landfill, reused or recycled. An in-house program was written for a solid waste database, where locations reported data each accounting period. Landfill pounds, indexed to 1989, have been reduced from 1.000 to 0.003, corresponding to an approximately 99.7-percent reduction in solid waste landfilled.

Materials diverted by Milliken include pallets, fiber plastics, containers, glass, carpet trim, canteen and general trash, tires, roofing and other construction and demolition (C&D) debris. The company’s program is unique in that it counts all solid waste, including scrap, C&D, waste water treatment sludge and other indirect solid waste, such as boiler coal ash. Milliken’s engineering group also figured out how to burn the company’s sludge as fuel in its boilers.

“Milliken’s commitment to sustainability goes back more than 100 years,” added Baird. “As we look to the future, it is important to us to work with companies like Sonoco that are just as committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility.”

Created to recognize customer and Sonoco facilities for achieving significant milestones in landfill diversion and waste stream reduction, the program is comprised of three tiers:

Gold Star Awards, which recognize facilities that have achieved 99 percent landfill diversion;
Silver Star Recognition, which is awarded to facilities achieving 95 percent landfill diversion; and
Bronze Awards, which recognize facilities that have made significant waste reduction achievements, such as drastically reducing their waste streams or implementing a new composting system.

Learn more about our Sonoco Sustainability Star Award program at http://www.sonoco.com/productsservices/sonocorecyclinginc/sustainabilitystarawards.aspx.

A recycling leader with locations and expertise worldwide, Sonoco Recycling annually collects more than 3 million tons of old corrugated containers, various grades of paper, metals and plastics. In addition, the Company has experts who provide secure, reliable and innovative recycling solutions to residential and commercial customers.

Currently, Sonoco Recycling operates six material recovery facilities (MRFs) and serves more than 125 communities in which curbside-collected residential and commercial materials are processed. The Company also provides recycling programs which identify waste reduction opportunities that reduce operating expenses for many of the largest consumer product companies in the U.S.


About Milliken

Milliken is an innovation company that has been exploring, discovering and creating ways to enhance people’s lives since 1865. Milliken’s community of innovators has developed one of the larger collections of United States patents held by a private U.S. company. With expertise across a breadth of disciplines including specialty chemical, floor covering and performance materials, Milliken works around the world every day to add true value to people’s lives, improve health and safety, and make this world more sustainable. For more information, visit http://www.milliken.com.

About Sonoco

Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a $4.1 billion global manufacturer of industrial and consumer products and provider of packaging services, with more than 300 operations in 34 countries, serving customers in some 85 nations. Sonoco is a proud member of the 2011/2012 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. For more information on the Company, visit our website at http://www.sonoco.com/.

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