At Pratt, every day is a day we support, promote and actively participate in recycling. Here, recycling means more than just converting used material into something new. Recycling is the first step in providing the recovered fibers, or feedstock, used for Pratt’s 100% recycled paper mills, making it a cornerstone of our business. Additionally, Pratt Recycling employs approximately 400 team members across 18 facilities who work daily to collect, sort and transport materials recovered through the recycling efforts of businesses and households.

100% Recycled Paper Mills & Beyond

Paper based material recovered from homes and businesses, such as old corrugated containers and mixed paper products, provide Pratt’s paper mills with the raw fiber used to make new 100% recycled containerboard. This containerboard is then used to produce corrugated sheets, packaging and displays at Pratt’s box, sheet and retail plants across the United States. 

It takes a lot of recovered fiber to supply the tons needed for Pratt’s five existing paper mills, with a sixth mill currently under construction in Henderson, KY. This is where Pratt Recycling Inc., a Pratt Industries’ business, comes in. Pratt Recycling works with businesses, organizations and communities to implement recycling and recovery programs to support zero waste and sustainability objectives. From helping businesses manage their waste stream and maximize landfill diversion to curb-side residential recycling programs for municipalities, Pratt Recycling receives recycled materials from every major metro area east of Oklahoma City.

“We annually recover more than 3 million tons of paper and other recyclables, diverting this material from landfills,” says Shawn State, President of Pratt Recycling. “While Pratt Paper Mills use the paper based products, the non-paper based materials—including PET and HDPE plastics, steel cans and aluminum—are sold to other manufacturers who use this recycled material in their products.”

Additionally, Pratt’s close-the-loop program offers customers the opportunity to create a circular journey for their product packaging, contributing to their sustainability and landfill avoidance goals.

Pratt Recycling Closes the Loop

The Close-the-loop program is one of Pratt’s many proactive efforts to recover, reuse and reduce. Close-the-loop customers purchase Pratt produced packaging and use Pratt Recycling’s waste recovery services to collect used corrugated containers and mixed paper products. The recovered fiber is sent to Pratt paper mills to use as feedstock to produce new containerboard. The containerboard is then sent to Pratt Corrugators to produce new corrugated sheets which are turned into sustainable, custom packaging solutions and displays. The program helps to maximize cost savings and revenue streams for customers while preserving resources and maximizing landfill diversion.

“Customers who partner with Pratt to implement our close-the-loop program discover it has many benefits,” says Cathy Foley, Vice President of Industry Relations and Supply Chain. “We help reduce emissions through landfill diversion which can help customers meet their carbon reduction goals. We also create something new from something used. Every day our mills turn recovered fiber into new containerboard used for new packaging solutions.”

Green-Collar Job Creation

In addition to creating new products from something used, Pratt’s continued growth creates thousands of green-collar jobs across the United States. In an interview announcing plans for Pratt’s sixth recycled paper mill, Executive Global Chairman, Anthony Pratt commented, “This investment represents another example of our commitment to building America’s green infrastructure, creating high-paying, highly-skilled green-collar jobs.”

Harvesting the Urban Forest

Pratt often refers to its material recovery programs, including close-the-loop, and its circular strategy as harvesting the urban forest, which Foley defines as, “taking used materials that would go to the landfill and harvesting those materials to make new products, thereby diverting it from landfills.” 

At Pratt, recycling means harvesting the urban forest, closing the loop for our customers and the continued pursuit to create green-collar jobs in communities across the nation. In other words, Pratt works to make every day America Recycles Day.