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Universal Trailer companies continue to find ways to preserve natural resources and use energy efficiently. These efforts include measurable, verifiable actions and active recycling.
In addition the extensive use of aluminum in many of Universal’s trailer products can reduce the weight of the trailer by nearly 20% with improved durability. The use of aluminum trailers can reduce product obsolescence and with lighter trailers. lower tow vehicle fuel consumption, emissions and wear.
In addition, aluminum is exceedingly recyclable. The recycling of aluminum, for example, requires 95% less energy and produces 95% lower greenhouse gas emissions than the production of primary aluminum. There are significant environmental benefits to down-weighting with aluminum. “For each pound of aluminum which replaces two pounds of conventional iron or steel, a net 20 pounds of CO2 equivalents can be saved over the typical lifetime of a vehicle.”1
Here are examples of initiatives at just one of the Universal plants:
- All wood products used to bundle aluminum extrusion are returned to the vendor to be reused in the bundling process, keeping these items out of the landfill.
- The aluminum we buy from mills is almost 90% recycled from both pre- and post-consumer use.
- Aluminum welding wire is spun onto steel wire spools instead of plastic, making it easier to recycle.
- Paints are purchased on an as needed basis to minimize disposal considerations due to out-dated material.
- All paints used in the paint booth are low in Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPS) and low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)
- ODC’s (Ozone Depleting Chemicals) are not used in any process at Featherlite.
- Reusable and re-buildable pallets are sent to a pallet re-furbisher; damaged pallets are sent for tub grinding into mulch; other scrap wood from operations are sent for tub grinding into mulch as well.
- Office paper and cardboard is collected and recycled.
- Scrap steel, aluminum and stainless steel are all collected and recycled, including saw chips (aluminum & steel)
- Expanded Polystyrene (Styrofoam) is collected in large bags and sent back to the vendor for recycling.
- Empty aerosol cans are collected. The contents are shipped as hazardous waste and used in fuel blending. The cans are now certified empty and ship as scrap steel.
- Most fluorescent light bulbs are collected and recycled as Universal Waste. We use “green ends” bulbs as much as possible since they contain less mercury.
- Lead acid batteries are collected and sent to a recycler.
- Dry cell batteries are collected at the tool cribs and sent in for recycling when the bucket is full.
- Currently exploring a program that will reduce total kWh (Kilowatt hours) by going with high efficiency fluorescent fixtures in place of metal halide fixtures.
1 Climate and the Aluminum Industry, ClimateBiz.com