GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — For more than 100 years, West Michigan-based PADNOS has been transforming scrap into reusable resources. The company’s more recent work has earned it local recognition.
“We’re a little over 117 years old now and we would argue we’ve been sustainable the whole time, even before people started to use that word,” said Kari Bliss, principal for sustainability at PADNOS.
Bliss said the company’s sustainability culture is about more than what its own employees do.
“It’s how can we help our customers with their sustainability journey,” she explained.
It’s that effort that earned it recognition from the West Michigan Sustainable Businesses Forum during the 9th Annual Triple Bottom Line Bash.
“It’s not that often that we get the recognition, but the truth is we have a commitment to not greenwashing, to be real recyclers and this was kind of recognition for that work that we’re doing,” Bliss said.
In 2021, PADNOS opened up 18,000 square feet of innovation space called Sustainability City.
“We have customers that really just need us to remove any of their waste products that they’re generating that could be recycled. So that material comes at us as fast as those manufacturers are producing,” Bliss said.
The fast-paced nature of the business wasn’t allowing PADNOS time to look at ways to solve some of the tougher challenges of sustainability.
“This space now allows us to take a customer at a time or a couple customers at a time and really do a deep dive into exactly what it is that their needs are and start having solutions around those needs,” Bliss explained.
It all plays into the idea of balance and the triple bottom line, a business concept that breaks sustainability into three equal parts: profit, people and the planet.
“If you’re not focusing on people, the stool falls over,” Bliss said. “Well great, you’re focusing on people and what’s good for the environment, but you forgot about the bottom line of your financials. You need all three.”
Bliss added that even as individuals, there are plenty of ways to do your part.
“Recycle what you can learn, educate yourself,” Bliss advised. “We do all have a responsibility to make the use the best use of all resources in order to have a better planet for us and for future generations.”
PADNOS is working hard on bettering its own waste reduction. While there are some materials, like metal, which have much higher reuse rates, the company is investing in technology for other commodities that are much harder to recycle.