A Second Life for Leftover Foam Board

Published on May 03, 2021

Even when our CEO Kathy Huff steps out onto the back deck of her home, she is never far from the company she and her husband Tom founded more than 45 years ago. Part of CIP Retail may be right under her foot — literally.

Kathy’s deck is made of a composite decking material that offers a long-lasting, sustainable alternative to wood. TimberTech deck boards are comprised of up to 80 percent recycled materials.

And some of these recycled materials are provided courtesy of CIP Retail as part of an innovative sustainability partnership we have with our PVC foam board supplier, Vycom.

Thanks a million

PVC foam board is one of the primary materials we use to manufacture retail store signage.

We estimate we make around 1 million signs every year used in retail store designs and supermarket designs worldwide.

Every month, we collect enough PVC scrap from our manufacturing facility to fill a 53-foot semi-trailer. This scrap would have ended up in a landfill if not for this fantastic recycling program.

In fact, since the start of the program, we’ve reduced our dumpster hauls by 40 percent.

“We’ve wanted to be a part of a recycling program like this for several years, but most manufacturers would only recycle unprinted material. That made it difficult for us to participate since almost all the PVC we use has been printed on,” says Jeff Miller, director of purchasing.

But it was a no-brainer to join the program when printed materials also were accepted.

Aware of the world

One of our core values at CIP Retail is to be “Aware of the World.”

What we mean by this is that we need to utilize the most eco-friendly materials and processes to minimize our footprint and conserve our natural resources. Participating in this recycling program is one way we stay true to that core value.

Our employees at CIP Retail are responsible for collecting and loading the PVC scraps for recycling. There are Gaylords – 4ft. X 4ft. boxes – and pallets at every workstation where PVC foam board is printed and routed.

The small scraps are tossed into the Gaylords. The larger chunks and skeletons are placed on the pallets, banded up, and shrink-wrapped for transport.

Once our team has filled about 20 Gaylords and a couple of pallets, it is time for the materials to head out for their chance at a new life. It takes our team about an hour to load up the semi-truck.

“It gives us such a sense of pride to know we are doing the right thing. It’s so much better to see all of that material leaving our facility in a semi-truck rather than an open-top dumpster container,” says Jeff.

The theme of this year’s Earth Day is Restore Our Earth.

“As the world returns to normal, we can’t go back to business-as-usual,” says EarthDay.org, the official organizer of Earth Day on April 22.

At CIP Retail, we will do our part. We will continue to work with partners who share our value of maintaining sustainable business practices and responsibly using our resources.

You can learn more about the Vycom PVC Recycling program on their website.

If you’d like to learn more about working with CIP Retail for retail design consulting and manufacturing services, please contact us at info@cipretail.com.

A Second Life for Leftover Foam Board