Welcome to Waste Not, the latest newsletter from CIRCON Environmental. If you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with our work: We’re a leader in sustainable waste management, helping companies find smart ways to recover and recycle waste, and use those materials to bring fresh value into the circular economy. But the stories behind those projects are rarely told. And they’re often fascinating.

My name is Pat Sears, senior vice president with CIRCON’s Energy Recovery Group, and in this bimonthly series, I’m excited to outline some of the toughest jobs and biggest wins we’ve had for our customers. Let’s start with something unexpected: worms.

 

The problem:

When I think about fishing, I think about fishing, not catching. And that shows you the extent of my expertise when it comes to the actual sport.

But back in 2017, we got to know a company by the name of Z-Man Fishing Products, which makes proprietary fishing lures out of soft plastic. It turns out, there’s a fair amount of waste in the fishing lure industry — imagine a dump truck full of plastic worms! And for Z-Man, that was a problem. They knew that they couldn’t push nature and conservancy in their brand messaging if they were also utilizing landfills for waste.

 

The challenge:

Z-Man wasn’t very familiar with CIRCON’s work, nor did they know that their waste materials might have value for someone else. But those plastic worms are really just synthetic polymers, made from petroleum oil. CIRCON knows how to handle that — so the challenge was really just CIRCON and Z-Man finding each other. But we did, and my team grabbed some of these lures and told Z-Man we’d get back to them.

 

The solution:

We realized that these lures had about 18,000 to 22,000 BTUs of fuel per pound — and our target is 10,000. That’s an incredibly valuable material, one that we can blend down and use in waste-generated fuels that serve a sustainable alternative to power the cement kiln industry and offset coal.

Turns out, Z-Man had so many boxes of old lures stored in their warehouse — because non-sustainable disposal had been unattractive and too costly — that they were sacrificing valuable space to store waste. CIRCON helped them free up that warehouse space, creating an additional return on investment.

Z-Man is still a great partner to CIRCON, and we pick up about 80 tons of waste from them every year. We’re helping them find a better way to do business, and now they’re proud to tell their customers, this is a zero-waste product. And the better a customer feels about a product, the more of it they’ll buy.

Need help?

CIRCON’s team is here to guide you through our comprehensive offerings and work with you to find the solutions (and pricing) that best suit your operation. It’s a better way.