All Initiatives

Responsible Consumption and Production

Pelletizing the Plastic
Suzhou, China

In an effort to build a circular economy, a key sustainability value, we collaborate with partners to create circular opportunities. An example is our waste scrap recycling in our Asian sites. We work with a local partner that takes our scrap waste and gives it new life by turning it into new items.

How does this work?

The Process:

Side trim from weaving and residual weaving monofilament is delivered to the chipping station at the recycling partner.

The recycling partner feeds the pelletizer and produces the chips. The chips are loaded into super sacks.

End use is for garbage cans, buckets, storage bins, and other non-food applications.

Bottle Flake — AJ Nonwovens

5.43 billion bottles used since 2016 which otherwise might have gone into a landfill

As a manufacturer of PET fiber, a larger portion of the PET resin used by AJ Nonwovens to make the fiber comes from recycled beverage bottles. Since 2016, AJ Nonwovens has consumed 190 million pounds of resin from bottles.

The 190 million pounds is broken down as follows:

  • Clear Flake – 85MM lbs
  • Green Flake – 65MM lbs
  • PCR Pellet – 40MM lbs

A soda bottle weighs 23 grams and a lightweight water bottle weighs 8.8 grams. If we assume it is broken up 50/50, and we convert it to pounds, the average weight of a bottle is 0.035 lbs/bottle. This means that AJ Nonwovens has used 5.43 billion bottles since 2016 which otherwise might have gone into a landfill.

Success Story

Valleyfield, Quebec

While some customers are reusing fabric for gardening to prevent weeds, others are using press felt for carpet at their campground site. The "Wooden box garden" is another nice example. In Valleyfield, the packaging boxes are reused by a customer to create a garden. AstenJohnson associates also reuse the boxes for projects at home.

Green Belt Project
Suzhou, China

The LEAN Sigma program is an excellent complement to Sustainability Goals. Associates working toward Green Belt status develop projects focused on continual improvements that will remove waste and inefficiencies, and improve working conditions. In addition, these projects address issues that are important to AstenJohnson.

One of the projects we’ve developed is the garbage classification project. Garbage is identified as 4 main categories:

  • Food waste
  • Recyclable waste
  • Harmful waste
  • Others

I am actively engaged in the garbage classification project, because environment protection is obviously benefitting ourselves, our children and our next generations. Practicing 'NO WASTE' in work and life, and influencing my associates as much as possible are important matters. The more we save, the more we contribute to those who are potentially in need.

Helen Zhao HR Manager, Suzhou

Material & Supplies Recycling

All our sites are actively working to prevent and recycle process waste. Paper, cardboard, metal, and wood are recycled at several sites, including AstenJohnson Clinton, AstenJohnson Strakonice and AstenJohnson Eupen.

Williston, Vermont

Williston is actively working to recycle their scrap. In 2020, 186,306 pounds of filaments scrap and 171,736 pounds of cardboard were sold for recycling. In total, 358,042 pounds went to a local company that collects and holds scrap to be resold to recyclers for various usages.

The scrap is separated between Nylon6-6/6, Nylon 6/10, PPS, AW-173 and PET white/BLK.

over 358,000 pounds of scrap material recycled in 2020

Since early 2022, Williston has been providing PPE recycling boxes at various locations in the plant to recycle disposable & cut gloves, safety glasses, disposable masks, and ear plugs. Once a box is full, it is shipped back to the recycling company for the contents to be recycled.

As part of our commitment to a sustainable future, the Clinton site works to reduce our waste to landfill by recycling many of the materials we use at the facility including nylons, cardboard, plastics, and metals. Additionally, we contribute to the circular economy as our mixed nylon materials are recycled and made into pellets used in auto parts for Ford and GM and our cardboard tubes are used by one of our customers to make into new paper products. Also, we have recycle receptacles located all around the plant to encourage recycling of paperboard, batteries, and aluminum by our associates.

Mary-Wallace Riley Purchasing Coordinator Manager, Clinton

St. Louis, Missouri

AJ Nonwovens has a major customer re-using cardboard cores. AJ Nonwovens winds material onto cores for shipping and unwinds at the customer site. AJ Nonwovens receives approximately 5,500 cores back from this customer every 3 to 4 months. This reuse represents approximately $30,000 savings in total.

over 358,000 pounds of scrap material recycled in 2020

Valleyfield, Quebec

A recycling process for disposable face masks was put in place on December 11th, 2020 in Valleyfield buildings. Associates raised concerns when everyone was required to wear disposable masks every day. This recycling solution is an entire project developed by and for the associates.

Valleyfield works with a local company that recycles various protective equipment. This company provides AstenJohnson with boxes to collect used masks, which are returned for recycling.

HID & Fluorescent Light Recycling
Clinton, South Carolina

All plant HID & fluorescent lights removed & recycled.

Project Start: 2017

Zero landfill from this project

Project Completion:
2019 - Met goal

Crossover Piping
Clinton, South Carolina

Our team identified several advantages to installing crossover piping including system reliability and energy savings.

Project Start: 2019

Backup capability if we lost use of one chiller.

After installation, we found we could run facility on one chiller during normal operations.

Project Completion: 2019

Electronics Recycling
Charleston, SC

Associates at AstenJohnson Charleston participated in an electronics recycling drive late in 2022. Associates brought in old devices and small household appliances to recycle. This first event kept over 100 pounds of waste out of the landfill. Associates are already making plans for the next drive and intend to make it an annual occurrence.