Calhoun Recycling Center creates ambitious new partnership with local businesses

Collaboration Helps Facilitate Sustainability for Local Industry

The Halstead Group/Metroflor’s Calhoun facilities have partnered with the City of Calhoun Recycling Center to expand its recycling programs. 

Halstead has long been a proponent of recycling and reuse and is always looking for better ways to do both. Prior to making this switch, Halstead/Metroflor had been using three different companies to recycle foam, plastic, cardboard and paper. But now, thanks to the City of Calhoun Recycling Center’s partnership with RUTCO Recycling, under the leadership of Judy Peterson, the center’s program coordinator, the process has been streamlined and refined, making it easier than ever before for businesses to become more sustainable through recycling.

Previously, Calhoun Recycling Center was limited in what it could recycle beyond the basics: bottles, plastic water and detergent containers, newspapers and cardboard, etc. RUTCO’s comprehensive business model enables it to recycle “hard to recycle materials,” including packing materials such as foam, plastic strips and pallets.

In exchange for giving RUTCO the plastics and other materials they can’t recycle at the center, Ty Rutledge, president of RUTCO, provides his 53-foot trailers for hauling, collecting and delivery services. When Halstead/Metroflor are ready for a pick-up, the trailer and driver arrive at the company’s corporate campus in Calhoun, where they load and then haul the recyclables. Paper, cardboard and similar items go to the City of Calhoun and the rest goes to RUTCO.

Halstead/Metroflor has forfeited proceeds from the recycling effort, as the money earned will instead support the City of Calhoun’s recycling program. “Making the change to using the Calhoun Recycling Center will essentially be a one-stop shop for us, and make the recycling process much easier, said Jordan Stone, Sustainability Specialist for Halstead/Metroflor. “The partnership with the center is a great match, as their core values align with ours.”

“We’re so proud that we can now offer companies such as Halstead/Metroflor a comprehensive recycling program for all their needs, one that makes it more convenient and efficient for industry to recycle,” said Judy Peterson, with the City of Calhoun Recycling Center.

A former environmental science teacher now retired after nearly 30 years educating students at Gordon Central High School and Calhoun High School, Judy’s enthusiasm for her volunteer position and the potential for the program is infectious. “My goal is to ultimately bring curbside recycling to the city and collaborate with the county to make the program even stronger,” said Peterson.

Peterson’s mission is to engage other local businesses to recycle in a similar fashion. “This was the first time that industry reached out to us, when Halstead/Metroflor asked how the city can help them in the sustainability arena,” she said. “Usually we must approach businesses, begin the dialog, and coerce them to ramp up their recycling efforts. We consider our partnership with Halstead/Metroflor as an example of where recycling can and needs to go. They have set the standard for how as a city, we can help industries who come to Calhoun with a sustainability mindset and philosophy.”

The recycling program is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sustainability at Halstead/ Metroflor. With the appointment of its first Chief Sustainability Officer Rochelle Routman, the company has put sustainability at the core of everything they do. Routman heads Metroflor’s Product Authority Team, a sustainability-driven hub that oversees all aspects of the product channel: Customer Service, Testing and Environmental Compliance, Innovation, Quality, Performance and Safety. Her team is an information clearinghouse that directs how sustainability unfolds throughout the global company.

Routman takes a 360-degree view of sustainability that extends to social conscience. She has spearheaded healthy lifestyle initiatives for employees at the Calhoun, Ga. corporate campus. She is a champion for their Asian partner’s employee support programs -- housing, schooling, daycare and after-school care for children -- and for a global workplace that places a priority on worker safety, productivity and energy efficiency.

The global company’s roots rest firmly in Calhoun, however, and its strong core belief in the value and power of sustainability is expressed throughout the corporate facility. The company’s Innovation & Design Center is Green Globes Certified. This modern building creates a distinct sense of place, including honoring the local ecology and showcasing works of art. A second building is LEED platinum certified, and incorporates many advanced green design and construction features, such as the reuse of rainwater in landscaping and bathroom fixtures. Additionally, several buildings at the Calhoun corporate campus have solar photovoltaic panels which provide energy for building operations.

“We are committed to seeing sustainability in a global light,” said Halstead/Metroflor Owner and CFO Harlan Stone. “We are transparent in our communication with our employees and customers. It is our goal to help provide an opportunity for a better life though the products we create, the processes we employ, the jobs we provide and the daily actions we engage in for today and future generations. We hope our success can inspire other companies in Calhoun to join forces with the city and make sustainability a priority, with recycling as the starting point.”

The Calhoun Recycling Center, located at 215 Pine Street, is non-profit and directs all proceeds towards the expansion of their recycling programs and improving recycling function and efficiency. This will in turn make recycling easier and more accessible for everyone in the area. Halstead/Metroflor is proud to work with the Calhoun Recycling Center in the effort to reduce and repurpose company waste in an environmentally responsible manner.

Halstead Group/Metroflor is a global manufacturing and marketing enterprise servicing North American, South American, Pacific Rim and European markets. The company produces a comprehensive line of high-quality flooring and decorative building surfaces for the home and workplace. With headquarters in Norwalk, Conn., and associated offices throughout the world, Halstead/Metroflor is continuously developing new and innovative products for the marketplace while promoting safe and sustainable processes for doing business.