By Mike Miller, senior engineer – Product Supply
Recycling is a way of life at the Kingsford plant in Belle, Missouri.
We try to reuse materials and energy in every aspect of the manufacturing, packaging and distribution of our charcoal briquets.
Sawmill waste is the main ingredient in making char for our briquets. When making this char, we capture waste heat from the process to supply heat to our boiler and dry the briquets.
When it rains, we channel the water to a collection system to reuse in the manufacturing process. Along with the water, we also capture char and sawdust sediment, which we separate out and add to the briquet mix. We even reclaim dust and briquet pieces from screeners and conveyors that transport the dry briquets to the packaging department and add it back into the briquets.
And of course we also recycle our paper, cardboard, bag tops, plastic, aluminum cans and clear plastic bottles to minimize our landfill impact.
Nor do we limit our efforts to reuse and recycle everything we can to the manufacturing process.
We’ve recently undertaken an initiative to recycle our old concrete pavement, similar to efforts happening at other Kingsford plants.
One of our capital improvement projects this year was to expand the concrete area in front of one of our warehouses. This will make it easier for truck drivers to access the loading docks. This project removed a concrete retaining wall and several square yards of worn-out concrete pavement. We ground these large chunks of concrete into properly sized material and use it for the new pavement sub-base. We also removed large reinforcement bars, leaving behind smaller wire mesh that we will recycle into new BBQ grills.
There are many benefits of using recycled concrete. These include keeping concrete debris out of landfills and conserving resources by reducing the need for gravel mining. And using recycled concrete as the base material for roadways reduces the pollution from trucking in material — a positive impact for everyone.
While grinding our old concrete is not cheaper than purchasing crushed rocks, it offers the value of being able to cut our waste through recycling and thus reduce our environmental footprint in the community.