MBC Recognized as Sustainability Leader

Mark’s Barrel Company (MBC) is a model of sustainability for the drum industry and businesses throughout the Intermountain region. MBC reconditions containers for reuse for businesses throughout Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, and California. Our primary customers are in the petroleum and chemical industries respectively.

In a 2008 report, the EPA estimated the quantity of used oil generated annually at 1.35 billion gallons (with a “B”) with 785 million gallons used as fuel, 161 million gallons re-refined and up to 200 million gallons going to landfills or illegally dumped. Some estimate nearly 50% of used oil goes to industrial burning for energy, 20 percent to re-refining into base lubricants and another 15% to on-site heating. Used oil is a big business, especially as the price of crude oil continues to grow. Even though used oil is dirty and exhausted of lubricity, a gallon contains 140,000 BTUs of energy, approximately the same heating value of a new gallon of oil.

MBC accumulates approximately 1500-2000 gallons of oil per month. While oil is not considered a hazardous material during transport, there remains a serious liability to the generator. The business that generates the used oil is responsible and liable for he oil until it is properly disposed, which could literally take years if the oil is held in a storage facility. We are a small generator and like many others, we cannot consume all we generate. MBC sells the excess to processors and environmental service providers, otherwise, we burn oil to heat tanks of water used for cleaning and heat for the buildings.

While burning oil for heating and energy may seem onerous to some environmentalists, it has less universal emissions and conversationalist benefits than newly refined or re-refined lacks. At MBC we consider on-site burning as part of our overall effort to clean up the planet and lower energy costs.

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“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.

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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.

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MBC is committed to environmental protection.  Our primary purpose is to minimize the impact of waste on the environment.  Instead of discarding containers, we recondition them for reuse as an industrial container.  By taking care of used packaging, we help our customers comply with environmental legislation and meet the objectives stated by the international responsibility care initiative.

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