TheRingLord.com Environmental Initiatives
Waste stainless strip turned into lawn ornaments by Jon Daniels (owner).
| Both Jon and Bernice, the owners of TheRingLord.com, feel strongly about reuse and recycling and take this into practice at TheRingLord. We have always done the following practices since day 1. Both owners are offended by companies that green-wash their practices - telling you they do fabulous things to make them appear wonderful and green. This is not the intention of this page - we don't pretend we’re perfect and saving the planet. |
We just want to let you know what we do accomplish - and what you're a part of when you shop with us.
We hope you feel pleased to support these practices.
We strongly believe upcycling is better than recycling – that is using something instead of recycling. If we can’t use or reuse it, we will recycle. If we can’t reuse or recycle, we will try to avoid buying it altogether.
It's an interesting note that everything we do to reduce waste, recycle materials and reuse items is extra work for us and our staff. This isn't a complaint - we're just in a world where easier seems better. We'll gladly put in this extra effort for all our products and procedures - we always have and will continue to do so.
Reducing Waste and Not Wasting
We do our best to minimize garbage. Our yearly garbage for the entire shop is about 2-3 of the small trailer in the pic per year.
We even divert staff lunch waste. Our staff not only recycle their cardboard, beverage plastic and tin cans, they also compost.
- We like and encourage the use of PDF instructions – actual books are great but if you can use an electronic instruction feel good about it!
- Cardboard and boxes: we reuse boxes. A good portion of our boxes are purchased from a company that changes their product line and then can't use them – it was us or the recycle bin. We also reuse boxes from other sources – like if we buy a new pair of shoes. This may look odd to you if you get an order from us and it comes in a shoe box – what kind of a small operation is that you think… its not our size though, we just care more about re-using than about the appearance of the packaging. That being said we will not compromise the quality of your order or integrity of the shipment.
Garbage is minimized by recycling + composting.
Upcycling and Reuse
- We replaced an 80% efficient furnace with 96% efficient furnace.
- We use fluorescent, compact fluorescent and LED lights exclusively. In 2013 we started upgrading our shop lighting to almost all LEDs. We replaced the fluorescent tubes – the LEDs use ½ as much power
- Did you know a black background website saves energy :-)
- We built our shop with heating economy in mind - the concrete slab installer thought we were very weird asking for insulation under the slab, but its just good practice when winters get as cold as here. We also of course have excellent windows and insulation in our walls and roof.
- We have converted older machines to CNC controlled machines - this is a huge efficiency improvement and we estimate the energy per ring is about 1/2 that of the gear and grease machines.
- Using Wood Waste: All wooden pallets (about 3000 lbs per year) are either reused, given to other companies that can reuse them or burned to heat a local greenhouse.
- Water economy: We have a low flush toilet and no water urinal. We also use rainwater all summer for our ring cleaning processes.
Reducing Plastic Waste
Reducing Metal Waste
- Our bagger makes packing orders very fast – which keeps your costs down and gets your orders to you quickly – but it uses plastic :( Anytime the bagger makes an error and we have plastic from that error it is taken to our custom anodizing station for anodized titanium and niobium and the bags are used for those products. So if you get some green anodized titanium in a bag that says galvanized 14g 3/8” rest assured the rings are likely very correct and the label wrong. We do try to cross off the label on every bag to avoid confusion.
- Used containers: We use used containers for transporting rings, orders and coils within the manufacturing facility. Most of the containers are from restaurants and contained food items like margarine.
- Our spools are reused. We get wire on spools, use the wire and then sell the spools (and spooling) to you. So if you get wire that is spooled by us you have saved a plastic spool from being garbage! If you ever want to make foot stools or end tables we have more spools you could use.
- We return spools for reuse. 500 lbs/year of plastic spools are returned for reuse – these spools are NOT considered reusable as a dirty spool may contaminate welding wire. All returned spools therefore are used for our wire. We also convinced a supplier to switch from smaller plastic spools to a large wood spool. The wood spool is lighter and therefore less shipping pollution. The wood spools are then used to heat a local greenhouse. The wood spools also hold 120 lbs of wire which is more efficient for our ring machines than 20 lb spools.
- Upcycling Scrap strip: when we punch scales there is about 50% of the strip that isn’t used for the scale. We do many things to turn this into useable materials. Right now we make the center holes into our small tags saving 5% of the waste right there. Then we also sell the remaining rectangles as punched strip “rings” - this accounts for the last 45%. We are researching and testing new orientations of the scale punch to allow for an even greater use of the strip with more useable products. All strip that can’t be sold as scrap rings is recycled.
- Assorted coils and floor sweepings – a great way for you to get a grab bag of useable product and prevent it from being recycled.
- We sell chud from punched product for use as tumbling media or as casting grain. Again just trying to keep it from being recycled.
- We send all dust and scrap from silver and gold back to the refinery to be reprocessed. This is a good example of an industry in which recycling makes economic sense as well as environmental. The reprocessed material is then turned back into gold and silver products – we do not specifically request it comes back into our products but we’re certain that a portion of our wire is re-refined. This is a standard process and the quality doesn’t suffer at all.
- All metal that doesn’t leave our facility as finished product is recycled. We recycle, brass, bronze, copper, stainless… all of it.
- All of our metal can and does contain recycled content. This is just how the metal industries work now. People return metal for recycling and it will end up in our wire.
- Machines: Almost all of our machines are older machines that have been used as is or retrofitted. They work just fine for us and saved a lot of metal from being recycled. Older machines are heavy and used a lot of metal!
- Some of our wire and strip is purchased as surplus – this means that someone bought it and couldn’t use it and its either going to be recycled or we can turn it into rings or scales. We do our best to make sure the quality is excellent – we always ask about surface finish and will never get the wrong temper or thickness.
Where we would love to do better
- We pay an extra surcharge for proper disposal of all chemicals used in our aluminum anodizing process. We also limit the number of chemicals in house and have paid for proper disposal of any excess chemical we had. In general we don’t use chemicals in house any more – we did have some for blackening stainless and etching aluminum.
- We recycle toner cartridges and batteries.
- We use the right size box for the job which minimizes cardboard waste and tape usage.
- We use clean but not new packaging materials for box padding when required. We have never purchased peanuts or other packing materials - if we receive them we will reuse them. We typically prefer flyers - that we get despite being on a no junk mail list :(
- We have to ship you your products – we haven’t perfected teleportation and even if we did the energy use might be too high to be considered green anyway. We do try to ship our supplies in larger amounts to us to prevent multiple shipments. See the pic of the barrels - that is cutting lube and ultrasonic cleaner detergent. They come in small jugs but this is less wasteful.
- We are always improving our strip usage to keep scrap from being recycled.
- If anyone local could use a million wax paper pieces from the back of stickers we will gladly save them for you! We used them last year as fire starters for a wood burning hot tub. They can be used as packing material.
- We use padded envelopes - please reuse them :) They do state 'Contains post-industrial recycled plastics' but still… We tried some biodegradable ones but they came apart at the seams… not good.
- We have been planning solar panels for a couple years and really hope to get them soon.
We encourage you to recycle or reuse any boxes or bags you get from us.
If you have any suggestions please share – we’re open to new ideas!
Rain water is used to clean rings in summer
We reuse boxes and packing materials
We recycle ALL metal scrap
Used containers carry items inhouse
Reusable bags for overflow stock storage
Barrels instead of many small jugs