RockTenn has a long legacy of recycling that dates back 100 years, and today we are one of North America’s largest recycling companies. In 2014, we were involved in the recovery and recycling of more than seven million tons of paperboard.
Two years ago we announced a 2020 goal to reduce the amount of solid waste we send to landfills by 15 percent as measured from a 2009 baseline. In establishing this goal, we were relying in large part on projections about the performance of a new recycling technology. Emerging technology presents enormous opportunities, but it also presents risks. The equipment we hoped to install is not yet ready for commercial-scale operation, so we have gone back to the drawing board.
As we have further examined our solid waste practices, it has become clear that each of our facilities faces unique issues with respect to recycling. These opportunities and challenges need to be explored, so we have decided to implement waste minimization teams at each of our large paperboard manufacturing mills over the next two years. These teams will evaluate ways to reduce waste generation and increase recycling; implement a facility waste minimization plan; and report on the effectiveness of their efforts. Where appropriate we also will use Six Sigma principles to refine and improve our waste processes.
In the meantime, important waste reduction projects are taking place at many of our facilities. By connecting our local waste minimization teams and our ongoing waste reduction efforts, we will make a substantial difference in the overall amount of waste we send to landfills.