November, 2010

“REDUCE – REUSE – RECYCLE” a Reconditioner’s Mantra

Had to chuckle as I was reading the blog from our friends at Maxi Container,, listening to Rich’s report from the Reusable Industrial Packaging Association fall conference in Orlando. Rich wrote, “Some new drum manufacturers think that by reducing the thickness of the steel or plastic in their drums that they are promoting ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ sustainability.”

The argument from the manufacturer’s was that a thinner drum translated to “less waste” at the time the drum was scrapped. What MBC and Maxi can testify to, is that thinner drums are less durable, tear easier, and go out of service quicker. This means MORE energy is used to transport, scrap, and recycle the raw material to make a new drum.

Many of MBC’s customers are Petrochemical companies and the workhorse of their industry is the closed (tight) head steel 55-gallon drum. During transportation, packaging, and field use, heavy steel drums are often subjected to rough handling, which can jeopardize the material being transported inside the drum. A thicker gauge steel drum benefits the packager in two important ways: more reuse and less damage, which could result in leaks and spills. In the future when ordering, specify a thicker gauge drum if you have a choice.

Every new and “like new” reconditioned drum undergoes a series of tests to insure its quality. At MBC, we understand sustainability is not about cheapening a product.

Read More

MBC kicks off Charity Water Campaign

Ten days ago I ran the New York Marathon. Here were my thoughts just a short 48 hours before the race. We have now officially kicked off our campaign with Charity Water. Take the time to check us out by going to and putting in my name, Mark Schwietz. I hope you will support us in our goal to build some wells for those 1 billion people on our planet who do not have clean, safe drinking water.

Water is so much a part of our lives, we don’t even think twice about refilling a bottle or glass. Taking an extra 10 minutes in the shower. In Arizona thousands of gallons of water evaporate daily from our swimming pools and canals. The amount of water used daily by an average family of four in the U.S. has been estimated to be nearly 400 gallons.  Drinking, cleaning, food preparation, watering the lawn, flushing, etc. are but a handful of the ways we use water.

In forty-eight hours I toe the line with some 45,000 men and women from across this amazing planet of ours. What line you ask? The starting line of the NYC Marathon. We start in Staten Island, run through Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Harlem and finish in Manhattan. 26.2 miles and some 2-3 million New Yorkers and friends from all points on the map will be cheering us on.  There will be water stations along the way, nearly every mile. Hundreds of thousands of cups of water will be consumed, poured out over our heads and bodies. HYDRATE is a mantra in the runners’ almanac.

But for nearly 1 billion people worldwide, their day will not be like that. They will schlep a jerry can (5 gallon plastic jug) nearly the distance of a marathon to bring water to their families. Water filled with parasites and disease. Dis-ease. That is what a human being feels at their core when some of their most basic needs are not being met.

There are numerous ways to address the problem and it starts with men and women like you. One-way is to support an organization such as Charity: Water [] that is building wells in villages throughout the world to provide clean, safe water. A well costs about $5000 and can provide water for 250 people for 20 years. Not everyone has $5000 or more burning a hole in their pockets, but you can still give. $20 will give one person water for 20 years. Get 249 of your friends to give twenty bucks and you just built a well. And so it goes.

“Don’t just do something, sit there” is an old wise saying. Collectively we can change the world. We can stop this horrific crisis where thousands die daily because they do not have water to drink and/or the water they do drink is contaminated. Is this a cause you can get behind, or is something else pulling at your heart? I invite you to spend the time it takes me to run a marathon (3:45)(I finished in 4:09) and find something you can support.

I could use your support in building a well. This is a cause we at MBC chose to get behind. Every penny of profit from our emergency preparedness products will go to Charity: Water.  All donations you make will help the thousands of us behind this cause make our dream of providing clean, safe drinking water for those who do not have it.  Consider giving a buck a mile or more. Thanks for your generous support.

Read More

Sustainability and Mark’s Drum and Tote Company

Quick – define “sustainability”.  This concept has been gaining momentum in the business world these past 8-10 years and now the US Government is on board. It would seem, as the word itself implies, that sustainability is here to stay.

Here at Mark’s Barrel Company sustainability encompasses two areas: Resources – think people, planet, climate, etc. and Business Acumen – think ethics, corporate governance practices.

MBC is dedicated to protecting the planet and driving sustainable growth. As a company whose primary business is reconditioning containers for reuse, we are dedicated to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, water and energy consumption.

For instance, we are building a progressive tote (Intermediate Bulk Container) washer and leak tester that will largely clean and reuse water that is being heated by the very waste found in the containers we are cleaning. This will save tens of thousands of gallons of water per year while reducing the consumption of electricity and natural gas.

Sustainability is not just about protecting the climate, conserving natural resources and improving the human condition. The concept extends to the realm of business ethics and corporate governance.

At MBC we are convinced integrity and mutual respect are essential to creating, growing and sustaining a business. In other words, sustainability is what’s essential to the future of our business, and for MBC, integrity and mutual respect are key.

One does not have to look too far at glaring examples of ethical lapses in the business world. Our mortgage and banking industries, insurance and financial institutions have been “right-sized” or in some cases are bankrupt.

A percentage of the closed head (tight-head) steel drums find their way into scrap yards. A larger percentage is reconditioned for reuse. While we in our industry cannot boast the kinds of numbers the International Aluminum Institute does (73% since 1888!), we can celebrate the kaizan type improvements our industry is making in the steel and plastic industries.

Its been said that, “The fundamental principle of sustainability is as a frame of reference for a triple bottom line: Profit, people and impact on the planet.”  Now, define sustainability.

Read More

myCharity: Water

President Mark Schwietz’s myCharity: water page. Donate today!

On November 7 I am going to be running 26.2 miles along with 10’s of thousands of others in the ING NY Marathon. For the first time ever, CrowdRise is making it possible for runners and supporters alike to contribute towards their favorite charity. I chose Charity: Water

Read More