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Shaw Recycling Gets Cooking

Cooking oil collected locally is the latest source of bio-diesel Shaw Industries is employing in the production of some polypropylene and nylon yarns used in carpets and rugs.

This initiative is part of Shaw's move toward sustainable manufacturing practices. Bio-diesel, Shaw said, is a more cost-effective, cleaner-burning renewable fuel than petroleum-based diesel.

The benefits of using bio-diesel include: it burns up to 75% cleaner than conventional diesel from fossil fuels; it eliminates sulfur dioxide emissions; it adds no CO2 to the atmosphere; and the ozone-forming potential of bio-diesel emissions is nearly 50% less than conventional diesel fuel.

Shaw is concentrating the effort at its Andalusia, Ala. Plant 65 facility, an extrusion, twist and heat-setting yarn plant that manufactures polypropylene, greige nylon, solution-dyed nylon and polyester for carpets and rugs.

In order to use the oil to supply its plant boiler fuel, Shaw invested in a unit that will process 100 gallons of bio-diesel in 48 hours. "Bio-diesel is used as part of the fuel stream for the plant boiler," explained Cary Baker, Shaw associate. "The boiler produces steam, which is a requirement in the heat set process."

The $3 per gallon being saved by cutting the diesel fuel used will offset freight costs and make the Plant 65 more competitive.

Plant 65 has implemented a facility-wide initiative to collect and use local cooking oil. Employees on site are encouraged to collect discarded cooking oil from friends, family and local restaurants. Complimentary one-gallon jugs are being provided throughout the community, and Shaw is not requiring people to strain or filter the oil they collect.

Since the May 20 debut, employees have collected more than 450 gallons of cooking oil.

"This initiative sends a positive message to the community," said Baker. "Shaw cares about the environment, and this community cares about Plant 65. It's a win-win endeavor."

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