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    TSC Cardboard Recycling Program Hits New High

    Team members at TSC's Store Support Center responsible for energy savings initiative in the IT department

    Cardboard recycling was one of the company's earliest Stewardship initiatives and is one of the most successful. The cardboard recycling initiative is truly a cross-functional effort lead by Lee Downing, Jon Gardner and Brad Cooper in Store Operations and Rich Wallace and Bob Churchill in Distribution Operations.

    The program began with the installation of balers in the distribution centers and was expanded to the stores. The balers compact the cardboard waste and bind it, making it easier for storage and hauling. Store locations that met specific criteria began receiving balers in 2010, and balers will be installed in all remaining stores that can accommodate a baler by year's end.

    "It costs approximately $12,000 per store to purchase and install a baler. Balers are installed in all new stores and our program of installing balers in our existing stores will be completed this year," said Brad Cooper, store services specialist. The recycling program was rolled out in groups over the course of four years. In 2010, 50 balers were added. In 2011, 61 were added. Another 90 balers were installed in 2012, and the team is projecting 31 additional balers to culminate the project. 

    “This program has been a huge success. We’ve reduced our waste by an estimated 60 to 70 percent, and our waste cost has significantly declined, too. Because of Tractor Supply’s efforts, our environment is being positively impacted,” added Cooper. While balers have been installed in our stores over the past four years, they have been a standard piece of equipment for a number of years in the distribution centers. All DCs have at least one corrugated cardboard baler, and in addition to helping the environment, the balers also act as a means of generating income for the DCs.

    “All DCs generate significant cardboard tonnage and revenue,” explained Bob Churchill, vice president of distribution operations. "Recycling our cardboard not only is good for the environment but it also produces revenue for our DCs and reduces our waste expense. The amount of cardboard we recycle is significant. For example, the Pendleton DC alone generated over 800 tons of recycled cardboard last year.”

    On a combined basis, Tractor Supply stores and distribution centers recycled a record level of cardboard.  In 2012, 11,100 tons were recycled in Tractor Supply stores compared to 8,700 tons in last year. The distribution centers recycled an additional 2,600 tons in 2012 for a combined total of 13,700 tons of recycled cardboard. 

    As Tractor Supply continues to pursue “green” initiatives as part of our Stewardship program, we are constantly looking to energize our efforts in the stores and DCs to create greater awareness and successful programs like this one.

    Based on numbers from RockTenn, the company that recycles our cardboard, the impact of TSC’s cardboard recycling program in 2012 was:

    • 233,733 trees saved
    • 41,247 cubic yards of landfill space saved
    • 56,370,900 kilowatts of electricity saved
    • 824,940 pounds of air pollution saved
    • 96,243,000 gallons of water saved

    Back to Stewardship In Action