Southwire's Packaging Team Enhances Sustainability Efforts

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In support of Southwire’s Carbon Zero goal to be carbon neutral for its operations by 2025, the packaging team actively searches for opportunities to improve sustainability efforts and reduce environmental impact. 

According to Torri Logan, engineering manager of packaging and a member of the company’s global sustainability team, the packaging group regularly incorporates Southwire’s five core sustainability tenets — Growing Green, Living Well, Giving Back, Doing Right and Building Worth — into product development and quality improvement. 

“In the packaging field, I believe that we play a key role in Southwire’s sustainability efforts,” said Logan. “Every product that we make has a package, and we know that this package is going to be discarded at some point. What better way to make an impact than to create more sustainable packaging?” 

In addition to creating new packaging materials, the packaging team also identifies opportunities to save costs and develops ideas for sustainability efforts and new product offerings. Logan says the team operates with continuous improvement in mind.

By refurbishing and recycling reels, Logan and his team are able to keep more materials in use while reducing labor and material costs. A simple first step in creating sustainable packaging is to determine whether the packaging can be reused to decrease the amount of material disposed into landfills. 

“The reels leave our facility and go to different contractors and construction sites. Once the wire is consumed, typically the reels end up in a landfill,” said Logan. “There’s really no way for the customer to know where these reels could end up. If we don’t instruct customers how to recycle them, then the reels will just go in the garbage.” The packaging team works with a vendor partner to collect reels and develop flange markings, which provide accessible information on how to recycle them.  

When asked what method the packaging team uses to execute sustainable efforts, Logan explained his team’s philosophy. “In packaging, there are four Ps: protect the product, prevent contamination, perform and promote the product,” said Logan.

By practicing the “four Ps” and committing to sustainability, the packaging team is currently working to use paper instead of plastic to package coils. The team has also recently partnered with a local recycling company to turn nearly three million pounds of scrap wire insulating compound into raw materials for returnable pallets. Logan says that he plans to get customers more involved with recycling materials in the future.  

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