Three Decades of Sustainable Practices
For some people, recycling may seem like a hassle and that their sole lack of effort won’t have an impact on the rest of the world. However, this is not the case. Recycling is important because as consumers, the amount of waste we create is increasing all the time. Waste is so dangerous for our environment; it pollutes the air and water, adds to landfill, ruins our ecosystem and uses up precious energy. Unfortunately, this accumulation of waste is often due to our own poor choices, but it also means we have the power to make a difference.
30 years ago, at McElligotts, we decided to make a difference and take matters into our own hands. Since 1989, we have been proudly establishing our own recycling programs starting with garnet, our original preferred abrasive. We chose to work with garnet as it is a certified recyclable product, which was important to us in our efforts to become a sustainable company. As a result of our success recycling garnet in our own facility, we decided to purchase our first recycling unit in 1991 to continue our sustainable efforts and recycle more of our materials. Garnet is recycled as long as it hasn’t been used on a lead or coal job.
Now, at McElligotts, we recycle both garnet and paint thinners. Making the effort to including paint thinner in our recycling efforts was important to us after learning the dangers the solvent can have on the environment when they aren’t disposed of correctly. Paint thinners are a hazardous waste, containing chemicals that can contaminate our groundwater and have negative effects on human health, with some older paints containing cumulative poisons. Another bonus is that by recycling paint thinners, we also reduce the costs associated with hazardous waste disposal.
Our current recycling unit has the capacity to recycle up to 14 tonnes of waste per day, which we use again on the same project or other projects that require the same materials. Reusing our own materials has allowed us to drastically cut costs not only for ourselves, but also for our valued clientele. Since opening our recycling unit, we have been able to reduce our waste by a third, which is an achievement we are really proud of and motivates us to make even more sustainable efforts. Since making the choice to recycle garnet and paint thinners, we have introduced a can crusher that can crush 20 and 1 litre drums for scrap metal, and we also outsource all our waste oil and paint for recycling.
Choosing to be a company that actively recycles has had so many positive impacts on McElligotts, including the team culture we have built. In order to keep the process going, we make sure everyone in our team is involved in the recycling process and is aware of how it works. When working on a project, our staff know where they need to send the materials to be recycled, which gives them a part in the process and makes them feel like they’re doing their part for the environment. We are so grateful that we have a team who is just as passionate about recycling as we are and are proud to see they have welcomed this initiative into their daily practice.
Watch the video below to listen to Rory McElligott discuss our recycling efforts in more detail.