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Covering the environment

Markets, Tents | February 20, 2017 | By:

Eco-concerns increase in truck and tarp industry

These days, nearly every business is burdened with some kind of environmental challenge. These challenges include cutting landfill deposits, disposing toxic-laden wastes in a proper manner and educating employees on workplace recycling. Nearly every company has pressures from regulators and customers to change their products and processes to better accommodate eco-sensitive processes. The tarp and truck cover industry is no exception.

Cutting costs and being mindful of environmental issues are closely linked. There is a growing interest among tarp and truck cover manufacturers and suppliers to use sustainable and recyclable materials, avoid toxic materials and harmonize with their surroundings. Likewise, many tarp and truck cover industry players recognize that they need to adopt smart, safe and sustainable manufacturing technologies. These companies want to increase productivity and meet business objectives while improving their ability to compete through the use of more energy-efficient facilities.

“We do try and recycle as much as possible,” says David Callahan at Granite State Cover & Canvas Inc. in East Kingston, N.H. “We are socially responsible in that respect and to throw anything away costs a lot of money these days. We recycle all of the metal products we remove that have been damaged or destroyed and the material tarps that can be reused we give away to customers that can use them as a free service. We’d rather put a little effort into decreasing our waste as well as give a perk of some free used goods to our customers that will re-use them.”

Recycling incentives

Recycling within the industry has increased over the past decades and continues to increase. Industry experts say this is a result of more incentives for recycling, technology that has made the recycling industry more profitable and public pressure toward the EPMs to increase recycling.

Recycling may be increasing in certain communities that are able to afford and implement material recovery facilities. However, for places that do not have the resources to build a material recovery facility, the waste from tarp and truck cover manufacturing goes directly to landfills. This choice is made because it is not economical to ship wastes to distant material recovery facilities or the appropriate processing facility.

So what about using recycled materials within the construction of tarps and truck covers themselves? As far as the major components used in the manufacture of tarps, as well as their completed products, Sharp’s Tarps in Salt Lake City, Utah, currently does not do any recycling.

“Nor am I aware of recycled materials available from vendors,” says Jeff Sharp owner of Sharp’s Tarps. “To date, I am not seeing much focus on the recyclability factor in our industry. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there, it’s just that I haven’t heard about it to any great extent.”

Likewise, T.R.S. Industries in Fargo, N.D., also does not purchase any recycled products for their tarps.

“We do resell worn out tarps for just a small handling fee and that keeps them out of the landfill,” says Shane Cossette, chief operating officer at T.R.S. Industries. “These tarps are generally worn out for their original job but are plenty good enough to cover a wood pile or have plenty of other uses for outdoor storage.”

Maura Keller is a freelance writer from Plymouth, Minn.

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