Now Available: 2024 Thermoform Circularity Report

Alignment with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

March 31, 2023|BY: Rob Helmke

Alignment with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
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The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) provide a framework for organizations and governments to follow to ensure the development of new goods and services are as sustainable as possible. This is a holistic, people-centered approach with categories ranging from “no poverty” to “peace and justice”. Plastic Ingenuity is committed to aligning with the UNSDG framework. The following information details our alignment and progress to date.

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

We are committed to providing fair compensation for all of our team members and partners. In addition to competitive wages, team members share 42% of Plastic Ingenuity’s profits through our discretionary profit-sharing program.

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

The custom thermoformed packaging we create plays a critical role in preserving and protecting food products. Effective packaging is essential to combat the issue of food waste, ensuring food reaches people in a safe and efficient manner.

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

We are committed to providing a safe and secure work environment for our team members and visitors. Our goal is to have zero reportable injuries in the workplace. Additionally, we provide weekly on-site physical therapy and yearly hearing test opportunities. We will continue to focus engineering and capital resources to eliminate accidents and ensure well-being. We are committed to supporting the emotional and mental well-being of our team members with an Employee Assistance Program amongst other support mechanisms. In addition to internal measures, the products we make for the healthcare industry protect the medical devices and medicines trusted to save lives.

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

All team members are eligible to participate in our Educational Assistance Plan. The purpose of the Educational Assistance Plan is to help any team member who so desires to enhance his or her capabilities to the greatest extent possible within their career at Plastic Ingenuity.

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

We remain committed toward equal opportunities for all genders. We will treat all people equally and nurture talent, regardless of gender. We support women’s professional, academic, and general growth. We advocate for equality through community engagement.

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

We will be responsible stewards of the water we consume and discharge as part of our operations. We monitor our water consumption and strive for ways to reduce usage. As an example, we installed a closed loop cooling system for our thermoforming machines to reduce water consumption by over 250,000 gallons per month.

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

We are committed to increasing the energy efficiency of our operations. Our energy intensity has decreased by 22% over the last 6 years (2015 – 2021). In addition to efficiency, we will continue to generate renewable energy for our operations from on-site solar panels.

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

We provide team members with an environment to grow and feel pride in their work. We prioritize safe working conditions for all of our team members and partners. Our unique profit-sharing program creates a sense of ownership and fosters unparallel teamwork. Unmatched employee tenure is a driver of our sustained growth. For example, the average tenure of PI design engineers is 28 years. We also provide a yearly cost of living adjustment to all team members, ensuring wages are modified to match the rising costs of living. Plastic Ingenuity participates in paid apprenticeship programs, featuring both youth apprentices and journey worker apprentices.

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

We leverage our design and innovation expertise to create sustainable thermoformed packaging solutions. These innovations result in optimized material usage, reduced wasted, and increased circularity. We invest in infrastructure improvements, though our partnerships and associations, to recover more plastic waste so it can recirculate in our economy as recycled material.

Reduce inequality within and among countries

We are committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace, as we know that each of our team members helps to make us better. We welcome people from all backgrounds and walks of life. We are diligent in our effort to eliminate discrimination and harassment, ensuring the entire team completes necessary yearly training.

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

We are aligned with the shift to a circular economy, which will improve the sustainability of our communities. We abide by the Association of Plastic Recyclers Design Guide to create custom thermoformed packaging that is compatible with residential recycling systems. We collaborate with associations, like The Recycling Partnership, focused on increasing equitable access to recycling in our communities. We provide educational resources for customers through newsletters, video series, eBooks, and a yearly Thermoform Circularity Report, promoting the transition to a circular economy.

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

We support the sustainable management of natural resources with pride. We seek to use more recycled content in our thermoformers to lessen our dependence on fossil fuel derived materials. We design our packaging to be recycled so its valuable material can be recovered for reuse at the end-of-life. We leverage design expertise to use the minimal amount of plastic while offering utmost product protection. We deploy lean manufacturing principles and continuous improvement to efficiently use the resources required in operations.

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

The phrase “we will be ever mindful of our natural environment” is embedded in Plastic Ingenuity’s mission statement. We quantify our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, along with a detailed Scope 3 screening. This enables identification of opportunities to reduce our greenhouse gas intensity. We are evaluating ways to further bolster the use of renewable energy in our operations.

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Our Corporate HQ in Cross Plains, WI borders the Black Earth creek, a world class trout stream. To protect this ecosystem, we developed five rain gardens that reduce storm water run-off. We are pledged supporters of Operation Clean Sweep, a stringent program designed to eliminate resin loss to the environment.

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

We are committed to natural environment preservation. We have reduced our landfill contributions by over 80% with our robust recycling program. We recycle aerosol cans, batteries, corrugate, skids, used oils, and scrap steel amongst other operational waste items.

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

We hold ourselves to the highest legal and ethical standards. We serve our internal and external stakeholders with honesty and integrity. We are dedicated to eradicating all forms of corruption within our company.

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

We support a variety of collaborations and initiatives whose objectives are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. In order to lessen our impact on the environment, enhance the circular economy, and encourage climate action, we collaborate with trade groups, NGOs, and other key stakeholders. Organizations and associations include PLASTICS (Plastics Industry Association), The Recycling Partnership, PP Recycling Coalition, Association of Plastics Recyclers, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, NAPCOR (National Association for PET Container Resources), Foodservice Packaging Institute, Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council, and the Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin.