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Department of Corrections

Year Submitted: 2007

Process: Packaging

Industry: Government

Wastes Reduced: 30-gallon steel drums

Location: Smithfield NC

Contact: Randy Lee

Phone: (919) 662-4400


The Correction Enterprises Paint Plant produces traffic marking paint and architectural coatings for use by tax-supported agencies in North Carolina. The paint plant employs 13 staff and 60 medium custody inmates from Johnston County Correctional Institution in Smithfield. Approximately 1.2 million gallons of traffic marking paint and 40,000 gallons of miscellaneous architectural coatings are produced annually at the facility. The plant recently evaluated its waste streams to identify areas for source reduction and recycling.
The facility implemented a project to reduce the quantity of 30-gallon steel drums used to ship traffic paint to the NCDOT Traffic Services Divisions. The standard and long-accepted practice was to pour the paint directly into the steel drum and deliver it to the NCDOT. Empty drums were picked up, sent to a recycling facility, and cleaned for reuse. The cleaning process involved incinerating the dried waste paint that had congealed inside the drums. Cleaned drums were then returned to the production plant and reused. The average life span of a drum was five uses, after which the drum was cleaned, crushed, and sold as scrap metal. Due to the expense of transporting the drums, another accepted practice was to let the recycling company have the scrap metal to reduce the expense of final cleaning. To increase the lifespan of the drums and reduce the reclamation and recycling costs, the facility adopted the use of plastic drum liners.

P2 Application:

  • Plastic drum liners allow each drum to be used up to 10 times between each cleaning, increasing drum usage up to 50 times. This represents a ten-fold extension in drum life.
  • On-hand inventory of drums has also dramatically reduced. Previously, the plant had 20,000 drums to insure an adequate supply while the drums were being processed by the cleaning contractor. Since the drums spend less time in cleaning, the plant needs only 5,000 drums.
  • The previous practice of reconditioning and reusing the drums generated 256,000 pounds of steel for recycling each year. Under the new system, this figure has been reduced almost 94% to 16,000 pounds.

  • Total Cost Savings: $326,500.00
  • Comments: The previous cost of reconditioning and recycling the drums was $488,000 annually. This has been reduced to $161,500 under the new system, which represents a 67% reduction in costs through reduced reconditioning and recycling.

Details of Reductions

  • 240,000.0 - Pounds/year of   Steel
    Comments: The Steel was recycled
Source: WRRC

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