Grand Rapids Label (GRL), a custom label printer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has set ambitious sustainability goals and, with help from Channeled Resources Group, continues its journey to becoming 98 landfill-free by the end of 2024.
The company is active in most markets, including high-performance labels, automotive, industrial and durable, consumer packaging, food and beverage, medical, laboratory, and electronics. Its business is 90 percent flexographic and 10 percent digital.
‘Green is embedded in our DNA,’ said John Crosby, VP of operations at Grand Rapid Labels. ‘Protecting and preserving the environment is an integral part of our company and culture. We are committed to providing our customers with safe, eco-friendly, competitive products and services while embracing a broader view of the impact on the environment of our employees, clients, and communities.’
The company’s first goal was to become landfill-free. In 2012, Grand Rapids Label was only 10 percent landfill-free. In addition to lowering energy use in the plant and life cycle assessments, it set up a straightforward recycling process, which was utilized for five years. It helped to reach the first milestone of being 40 percent landfill-free.
In 2017, GRL engaged with Channeled Resources Group to set up a relationship with Convergen Energy, which converts non-recyclable industrial byproducts into an alternative fuel that can be used to replace fossil fuel sources and produce renewable energy.
‘Its product and service are excellent, and its analyses about the product, specifically the LCA analysis, differentiates them from other competitors,’ added Crosby.
It took GRL over a year to set up logistical pieces, including testing waste streams at Convergen and storage space for bales and gaylords. In the third quarter of 2018, the company began shipping waste matrix to Convergen. It closed 2018 as 60 percent landfill-free, 2019 as 80 percent landfill-free, and finally, 2021 as 83 percent landfill-free.
‘We’re not finished. Our goal is to be greater than 98 percent landfill-free by the end of 2024,’ noted Crosby.
Since the kickoff with Convergen Energy in 2018, 2.5 million pounds of its waste have been kept out of landfills and used to produce energy.
‘We believe that sustainability is good business (for growth and profitability), good for the planet, and good for our stakeholders, specifically our employees. What we do at Grand Rapids Label serves as great role-modeling for our 85 employees. We’re confident that sustainability does not stop at our walls, but rather it spreads to 85 households and beyond,’ concluded Crosby.