Green road sign with the word safety in white letters

The Importance Of Safety In The Recycling Industry

At Quincy Recycle, safety is one of our top priorities. Recycling may not be one of the first industries that come to mind when you think about jobs with a high risk to health and safety. But, did you ever stop and think about the types of materials collected and sorted?

In their most recent report published in December 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics rated the recycling industry as the 5th most dangerous in America. Today we will talk about why safety is so important to us by highlighting some of the common health and safety risks associated with the recycling industry and how we address them in our facilities.

5 Common Health and Safety Risks in Recycling

1. Large and Moving Machinery

Processing large quantities of plastic, metal, and other recyclable materials requires big machinery. Compactors, balers, conveyor belts, and sorting machines are regular fixtures in recycling plants. All of these can cause injury if adequate operating and maintenance procedures are not put in place.

Robust safety protocols and checklists are in place across all Quincy Recycle locations. Equipment is inspected regularly and when maintenance or repair is required, a “lock-out and tag-out” protocol is strictly enforced to ensure the machinery is in proper working order before being put back into service. From their first day of employment, each member of our team goes through extensive safety and operator training. Training is ongoing and takes place on a regular and frequent basis at each of our facilities.

2. Trucks and Other Big Vehicles

In order to haul and move large loads of material, you need trucks, forklifts and other big vehicles. Any time you have large vehicles in the same place as pedestrians you have a safety risk.

Operator awareness is a top priority at Quincy Recycle. From training to operator certifications, we make sure anyone operating a large vehicle at our facility is qualified and adhering to necessary safety protocols. We also utilize tools like glad hand locks. Trailers come and go from our facilities all the time and a glad hand lock prevents a truck from hooking up to the trailer while someone is inside working.

3. Repetitive Motion

Recycling workers move a lot. They reach, twist, jump, and bend to sort and process items daily. The absence of a well-organized and ergonomic workspace can lead to injury over time.

We spend a lot of time training and promoting best safety practices at Quincy Recycle, and that includes steps to prevent injury due to repetitive motion. Our plants are designed with a layout to help our team members be as efficient as possible, which goes a long way in helping keep them safe and injury-free.

4. Respiratory Hazards

Recyclable materials produce a lot of dust. Without proper safety equipment and ventilation, small particles from materials we process such as paper, plastic, cardboard, and other contaminants can pose harm to workers.

Quincy Recycle provides all employees with dust masks and safety glasses to protect against airborne contaminants. In addition, our facilities are outfitted with air ventilation systems to help remove dust from the air key locations throughout the plant.

5. Biohazards

Sorting through mixed-commodity loads presents some risks. Sharp objects, industrial chemicals, and other biohazards can be present and must be handled carefully to avoid injury.

We take a proactive approach to make sure we know exactly what is coming into our facilities. Utilizing safety data sheets, our team can confirm the former contents of products such as fiber or plastic drums to ensure nothing comes into the plant that shouldn’t. We also provide our team with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help keep them safe when handling the wide variety of material that comes through our plants each day. Along with PPE, you’ll also find first-aid and bloodborne pathogen kits in each of our facilities.

Quincy Recycle Promotes A Safety-Focused Culture

Safety is part of our culture at Quincy Recycle. In fact, it is one of our core values. We don’t take the risks associated with our industry lightly and have put a lot of time and energy into making sure our facilities are safe.

“It starts at the top. Everyone across our organization is fully committed to running a safe operation. Our first core value is “Alive and Well” because safety is part of everything we do at Quincy Recycle. Many of our facilities boast lengthy safety records which is a real testament to the buy-in and dedication from everyone on the team.” – Philip J. Hildebrand, Jr., Quincy Recycle

Why is this so important?

To us, it’s simple – our team is our family. Keeping them safe is our first priority. And, in turn, our commitment to health and safety allows us to provide consistent service our partners can depend on whenever they need us.

 

Are you ready to take the first step toward achieving your sustainability goals?

Contact us today and together we can make an impact. We offer a wide variety of services designed to meet your specific needs.

 

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Gaylord Boxes

What’s in a name? Boxes used in manufacturing sure do have a lot of them. You may hear them referred to as “pallet containers”, “bulk boxes”, “pallet boxes”, “skid boxes”, or “bulk bins”. One of the most common and strangest names for a box used in manufacturing is “Gaylord box”. An industry staple in the world of manufacturing, you may use this name everyday without knowing where it actually comes from.

The first Gaylord boxes were produced nearly 60 years ago, by The Gaylord Container Company which was originally based in St Louis; hence the name. Originally just one specific type of packing box, the term has evolved over time to encompass many different sizes of box products. There have been some buyouts and headquarter changes, but the company that founded the Gaylord box still exists today.

Gaylord boxes are a vital component to any manufacturing operation. So how would you feel if we told you that you were paying too much for yours? Or that you were costing your company a lot of money by throwing them out?

Well, you probably are.

These boxes can hold hundreds, even thousands of pounds of product. Corrugated cardboard is the star of the show, and makes them physically capable of withstanding intense weights and pressures. Corrugated cardboard is a fancy way of saying reinforced and strong paper products made to resist tears and take a few transit punches along the way.  Suffice it to say these boxes are basically indestructible. So why would anyone only use a box once?

In our one and done society, still usable and functional items are often put to pasture well before their true expiration date, and these boxes are no exception. Sure, you could keep paying $20-$30 for a new box every time you are ready to ship. But we recommend seeing the light at the end of the savings tunnel and paying a fraction of new box cost for a perfectly re-usable used box instead. If you have empties up for grabs we will happily take those as well, saving you invaluable waste removal costs and creating a revenue stream where you once had only costs.

Contact us with questions or to check availability, and let’s see how much we can start saving you today!

Quincy’s Safety Milestones

At our core, we strive to create a work environment with a foundation that is built on mutual respect. No one is more important than the other, and we only achieve optimal performance when we work together.   We also recognize that our team members have people counting on them coming home at the end of a long day. 

That’s why, out of our many Core Values, the most important one is Alive & Well. This job can be a dangerous one. It can mean observing or operating in a plant you just walked into for the first time.  It can mean operating a baler or driving a forklift in the plant you come into everyday while remembering there is a fine line between familiar confidence and foolhardy risk. 

To err is human, to emphasize safety is Quincy Recycle. We start every manager meeting with acknowledgement of safety examples or changes made to improve safety.  We ask our associates to hold each other accountable to our published safety standards on a daily basis. Responsibility for self and others is at the forefront, as well as a focus on learning from past mistakes and near misses. Safety results are always more important than production results, and we would argue that safe manufacturing and processing practices actually herald efficiency. We conduct monthly company wide safety meetings, where we share and train on topics that are critically important to keeping our team members and our facilities safe and we learn from mistakes and near misses.   

But physical safety is more than just showing up to work and staying safe and whole. We also provide free annual physicals and discounted health insurance premiums to our associates who participate in our wellness program. We believe that if you feel good, and you have the tools to be proactive and preemptive with your own personal health, you’ll not only be healthier overall, but you’ll be a more attentive and active employee. Taking care of people is the right thing to do, and it’s just good business. Investing in our people and respecting the roles they play and jobs they do enables us to also empower them to thrive.  

We do all of this because our bottom line is dependent on our people. Our colleagues are an extension of our families. Our jobs entwine together in a web of success, each strand just as important as the next; we need every employee healthy and energized, in order to be the company we want to be.  

Your Waste Audit

The first step to fixing a problem is admitting that you have one. Sorry to hit you with philosophy right out of the starting gate, but we figured time is money, and you’re probably losing some as you read this. How do we know? We know because you’re a manufacturing company and studies show that on average, more than 70% of what you throw out isn’t actually trash at all. 

So what does that mean? It means you’re paying too much for waste removal and replacement products, some of which you could reuse. It means you’re missing out on great free PR; sustainability is on everyone’s minds these days. But most importantly, it means we can help you save more (materials, money, time)  while you waste less. 

We are a national recycling company that specializes in helping manufacturers like you recognize opportunities to improve and start performing at optimum utilization of your resources and inputs (raw materials, packaging, capital, and human resources). We believe profits and sustainability aren’t mutually exclusive. That’s why we do what we do. 

Once our team is able to observe your current sources of waste generation and means of collection and disposal we will develop a plan of action tailored to your various waste byproducts. We will determine what can be reused and give you options when it comes to what can be recycled. Options that will absolutely save overall waste stream costs and quite possibly create revenue streams.  Innovation is the name of our game, both internally and in our waste audit plans. If we can find ways for your process to operate more efficiently and generate less waste, we will help you implement those solutions. What an easy way to engage your team in sustainability goals that improve the thumbprint your facility leaves on our planet and boosts your bottom line.

We don’t stop there, though. Account management teams will continually analyze your waste stream, helping you offset production and waste removal costs even when your process and products change. This is an ongoing process, and we believe there is always room for improvement.  It is a collaborative and team effort.

To us, sustainability is achievable and made possible with Quincy Recycle’s involvement. It requires implementing realistic waste reduction goals that help your overall operational efficiency and showcase your ownership and responsibility in waste stream management. 

Let us help you start to take those small steps today. We’re game if you are.