At Tervis, Being Green is Serious Business

Not only are Ron Schmidt and Chris Shockey the driving forces behind the recycling and environmentally-friendly policies at Tervis, they are also a little Smothers Brothers and lot of Abbott and Costello. Chris is the machine gun fast talker/joker; while Ron prefers to play the straight man, continually setting Chris up for another joke or opportunity to talk about what they do best — reducing our environmental footprint and ensuring a safe and happy workplace. Those are the two things they are serious about.

When Ron isn’t wrangling alligators (true story), he’s busy overseeing building maintenance, designing and building the single-stream recycling bins located throughout the building, and so much more.

The single-stream recycling program requires every employee — from the production floor to the executives – to empty their own garbage and recycling containers. This helps make all of us more conscious of what is being thrown away and what can be recycled.

Tervis is also a part of a returnable packaging program. The majority of all incoming raw materials are received in returnable cardboard packaging. After usage, it’s broken down to a flat state and sent back to the suppliers to be reused. This cycle converts about a ton of returnable packaging each day.

Plus, Tervis participates in a plastic scrap recycling program in which all defective plastic (like returned tumblers) is collected and sent to be ground down and repurposed into other plastic products.

Through these initiatives, Tervis achieved a 56% recycling rate and was recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Chris’s passion for recycling is contagious. After talking with him, you’ll never throw out another recyclable material. You’ll also have a few laughs and learn a lot. Chris is the proud father of three girls, a distant relative of former NFL tight end Jeremy Shockey and is finishing the work on his bachelors’ degree. He’s also adamant that we can do even better than that 56% recycling rate. The keys are educating the Tervis masses — and using a couple of secret weapons.

Those secret weapons come in the form of two industrial recycling balers — one for cardboard and one for cellophane (nearly everything Tervis receives for production is wrapped in cellophane). The purpose of the balers is three-fold, with the goal of reducing Tervis’ environmental footprint and maximizing all of the company’s resources:

  • They can potentially increase our recycling rate to 75%-80%.
  • Baled recyclables can be sold for repurposing.
  • As we recycle more, we throw out less waste, requiring fewer trash pick-ups and, in turn, lower costs.

Ron and Chris influence lots of other things around Tervis – right down to those sporks we all know and love. One utensil with two uses = less plastic. The Green Team, which Chris co-leads, also sponsors beach clean-ups each quarter. Participation in these doesn’t go unnoticed — at the beach or at Tervis.

Recycling is a continuing process that has Ron and Chris on the lookout for new and improved ways to maximize their efforts. But no matter what policies and procedures are in place, they can’t do it alone. Chris and Ron are quick to point out that they are part of a team that strives to be responsible recyclers and problem solvers.

Why is that so important to Tervis? As Ron says, “A successful business is dependent upon a healthy environment.”

And thanks to Ron and Chris’s efforts, our green initiatives will only grow — right along with the company.

— P.J. Butland