Monday, March 15, 2010

Sonoco Sustainability Leader Talks with Coker Students

Derek McFarland, National Account Manger for Sonoco Sustainability Services provided a highly informative and thorough presentation at Coker College on March 15 as part of the college's Department of Business Administration Leadership Speaker Series.

There is no question that Sonoco, which is is headquartered in Hartsville, S.C., about a quarter mile from the Coker College campus, is a leader in sustainability solutions for its customers. Some of the numbers that Mr. McFarland, a 22-year Sonoco veteran, shared with his audience on the potential savings from keeping material out of landfills were truly surprising. He provided one case history of a company that was paying more $356,000 a year in costs to get rid of their manufacturing waste that ended up making nearly $120,000 a year when adopting the Sonoco sustainability solutions.

This presentation had to be eye opening for many students who often give little consideration to what it means for their waste of the community to be put into landfills. The photos that Mr. McFarland used as part of the presentation showed old corrugated containers from one factor in a landfill. On today's recovered paper market, those old corrugated containers could be generating $175 per ton instead of costing hundreds of dollars for hauling and landfill costs.

Among the startling statistics in this presentation the audience learned that in the United States we generate 250 million tons of trash a year. That number equates to 4.5 pounds of trash per day per person in the U.S. And, of that total, despite the surge in recycling, only 1.5 pounds of the 4.5 pounds is recycled.

Sonoco's S3 Solutions are paying off for Sonoco and for Sonoco's customers and the presentation by Derek McFarland opened up new ideas for Coker students on several fronts. The Business Department is providing Coker students with some amazing opportunities to hear dynamic presentations this academic year.

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