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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : Winter 2006 : Frontlines


When Old Becomes New
Regenerated scrap materials are becoming known as high-quality competitively priced raw materials.

Oklahoma-based Sustainable Solutions, Inc. (SSI) is taking a leadership role in accepting the challenge to find environmentally friendly and practical uses for regenerated post-industrial waste streams, and it is being recognized in a big way. The first group of unique products resulting from SSI’s proprietary technology is debuting now on the new Ford Reflex and Mazda Kabura model cars that were on display during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

The Kabura, which boasts a new level of intelligent environmental integration, features never-before-achieved regenerated leather—the latest of SSI’s innovative materials—comprised of post-industrial leather scraps from various industries. The Mazda model also features cargo flooring that blends SSI regenerated materials with Nike Grind, the post-industrial rubber waste from the production of Nike footwear. And now, the sustainable technology from SSI that facilitated the process of combining the regenerated materials with Nike Grind is being considered for implementation on an ongoing basis across the Mazda and Ford brands in the near future.

K. Joy Nunn, president and COO of SSI, praised Mazda for its innovative practices. “Mazda has aggressively embraced true sustainability in the Kabura vehicle,” Nunn said. “It’s more than just environmentally friendly products; it’s smart business. This decision will positively affect their people, profits and the planet.”

The Ford Reflex also boasts regenerated Nike Grind, making a sustainability statement consistent with Bill Ford’s focus on being environmentally proactive. Nike Grind is present in the floor tiles of the Reflex, offering added value because of its noise- and vibration-dampening qualities. Nunn said its use of regenerated materials is an ideal fit for Ford’s business strategy, “Great Product, Strong Business, Better World.”

“In our relationship with Ford, we’re taking millions of pounds of manufacturing byproducts and regenerating them into valuable raw materials for use in high-quality, sustainable components for automotives,” Nunn said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Previously considered useless, manufacturing waste gains great value when it is regenerated into a resource; the new resource stream then becomes a raw material with exceptional value as a high-quality component for distinctive, new products. Other industries are taking note of SSI’s environmentally friendly philosophy. The United Sustainability Authority consortium, comprised of industry leaders from numerous, unrelated markets, offers its member companies the opportunity to share resources and collaborate with each other in a non-competitive environment. And each of the companies in the consortium has engaged SSI to regenerate their waste into a raw material stream, develop innovative new products and manufacture them.

“This is so exciting, encountering open, like-minded people in new industries,” said Jane Savage, Nike design manager for footwear. “We are reenergized to explore our waste-to-product options with (SSI),” she said.

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