Howe says the company has also discovered it pays to walk the path toward sustainability with like-minded companies. Working with CHEP, with its pooled (shared and reusable) pallets, was a strategic choice. With more than 530 service centers across Canada and the U.S., CHEP provides the network Ice River Springs needs to quickly access sturdy 48x40-inch block pallets. Since Ice River Springs produces recycled bottles in a closed-loop production process at its Blue Mountain Plastics plant, CHEP pallets are used to move goods around the company’s production and distribution facilities, in addition to delivering the finished product to stores.
Although sourcing locally has paid dividends for Ice River Springs over the last decade, it’s been especially critical to successful operations through the COVID-19 crisis. Ice River Springs was able to continue sourcing recycled materials and producing bottles without facing potential breaks in its supply chain – a possibility if suppliers outside of Ontario, or even Canada – were unable to provide PET.
This circular, sustainable approach to business led Ice River Springs to CHEP’s Zero Waste World program, a global, collaborative campaign to eliminate waste, eradicate empty transport miles and cut out inefficiencies.
As part of Zero Waste World, both CHEP and Ice River Springs significantly extend the life of their assets, either by reusing or recycling. Ice River Springs sends the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) it recovers through the recycling process to C.R. Plastic Products – another part of the company – to produce items such as high-quality outdoor furniture. CHEP pallets are also repurposed at the end of their useful life: The waste wood goes into particle board, mulch, animal bedding, fuels for power generation, and more.
“Through our Zero Waste World program, CHEP is able to bring our extensive circular business and supply chain experience to the table with Ice River Springs,” says Jonathan North, Senior Manager and Program Lead – Zero Waste World, CHEP. “The program allows us to focus our collaborative efforts towards the three main problem areas, enabling us to work together to co-create solutions that will contribute to even more sustainable supply chains, even better equipped for the future.”
In a 9-year period, Ice River Springs achieved significant environmental savings by using more than 3.6 million CHEP 48x40-inch block pallets.
- Avoided more than 1,550,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, the equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 70 trips around the world by an average passenger vehicle.
- Eliminated more than 2,000,000 pounds of solid waste from landfill.
- Demonstrated verifiable results, beginning with CHEP’s use of 100% certified timber (PEFC and FSC certifications) all the way to the eradication of empty miles.