Posted August 9, 2023

Fastenal launches major recycle initiative

One of the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives of Fastenal Co. is to reduce consumption and environmental impacts throughout its operations and provide solutions for its customers to do the same. To support this objective, Fastenal has entered into a scrap supply agreement with Trex Co. Inc., a manufacturer of wood-alternative composite decking, railing, and other outdoor building products made from recycled materials.

The entire portfolio of Trex composite decking is made from 95% recycled and reclaimed materials, including a mix of polyethylene (PE) film and industrial wood scrap.

Through the partnership, Fastenal is collecting used PE film in its distribution centers, branches, and customer-specific onsite locations and shipping it to Trex to use the material in the manufacture of its composite decking products. PE film (familiarly known as "pallet wrap" in the distribution industry) is used by Fastenal and its suppliers to secure boxes and other packaging to pallets for shipment.

"Pallet wrap is vital to our daily operations, but once the product is unwrapped, we have no use for it," said Dave Olson, director of EHS & sustainability for Fastenal. "Working with Trex to turn all that potential waste into sustainable outdoor building products is a win for both organizations."

To support the program, Fastenal has invested more than $300,000 in equipment and infrastructure in its United States distribution centers to efficiently bale and consolidate used PE film for recycling by Trex. In the first year of the program, Fastenal expects to divert an estimated 600,000 pounds of plastic from landfills through material collected within its distribution centers (where a high volume of pallet wrap is received as part of inbound shipments from suppliers). In addition, more than 2,500 U.S. Fastenal branches and Onsite locations can participate by using Fastenal's regular truck routes to back-haul used material to the nearest distribution center for baling, consolidation, and shipment to Trex.

Each year, Trex repurposes in excess of one billion pounds of reclaimed materials in the making of its products, including approximately 400 million pounds of plastic film, making it one of the largest recyclers of PE film in North America. Through its NexTrex Recycling Program, Trex partners with commercial businesses and community organizations across the country to collect and transport recycled plastic material to its manufacturing facilities in Winchester, Virginia, and Fernley, Nevada.

"We applaud Fastenal's commitment to creating a more sustainable business model by participating in the NexTrex Recycling Program," said Trex Senior Director of Supply Chain Excellence Dave Heglas. "The contributions of eco-minded partners, like Fastenal, are not only integral to our manufacturing process, but also critical to addressing our country's growing plastic waste problem."