As environmental threats go, custom bar-code labels might not strike you as much cause for concern. But according to one source, the label manufacturing process can actually produce a fair amount of waste, from set-up material and edge trim to "matrix" and container waste. And about 85 percent of that waste ends up in landfills, the source said.
Now, one industry player is doing something about the issue by converting its manufacturing waste into clean-burning fuel pellets that can be used as a substitute for coal, gas, and other fossil fuels.
Lake Villa, Ill.-based custom bar-code label vendor ID Label Inc. said in February it had teamed up with alternative fuel manufacturer Convergen Energy to make the fuel pellets from its label manufacturing byproducts. The finished fuel pellets are about the size and shape of pet food kibble and can be burned in stoves or boilers to produce heat.
The company, whose major product lines include warehouse and pallet labels, says the initiative's benefits go well beyond providing a greener way to dispose of the 500-plus tons of manufacturing waste it produces each year. "What's exciting about this program is that we're not just greatly reducing landfill waste," ID Label President and CEO Neil Johnston said in a statement. "We're also reducing our carbon footprint by contributing to sustainable alternative fuel sources that are much cleaner and eco-friendly."