Marisa Franklin, an inventory control team member for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., loves to talk trash — nearly 1,500 tons of trash, to be exact. With the help of her fellow associates at Wal-Marts STaR Complex in Pineville, Missouri, Marisas PSP involved starting a facility-wide recycling campaign that has kept 1,492 tons of trash from the city landfill.
The STaR Complex, also known as Wal-Marts Support Testing and Reclamation facility, is the perfect place to institute an aggressive recycling awareness effort and to generate highimpact results. The 75 associates who work at the complex are responsible for collecting all of the leftover and retired equipment from Wal-Marts stores, clubs and distribution centers.
"We receive anything and everything that is coming back from the stores — cash registers, shelving, signage, packaging materials, printers, electronics, etc.," says Marisa. "All of this stuff used to go to the landfill."
In 2005 Lee Scott, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, then CEO, announced the Companys commitment to being a leader in the area of environmental sustainability.
"When I heard Wal-Mart was going to focus on creating zero waste, a light bulb went off in my head. I grew up in a family that was committed to recycling, so its something Ive always done. But now, being able to lead this effort at work is really fun and exciting," Marisa says.
Its challenging too. While finding external partners to recycle electronics, metals and other items wasnt terribly difficult, the STaR associates struggled to uncover a company specializing in Styrofoam recycling. Marisa finally found one in Hendren Plastics, based in Gravette, Arkansas.
A manufacturer of polystyrene, Hendren had plenty of leftover Styrofoam and had devised a way to recycle it.
"The Company uses what is called a 'densifier, which basically sends the Styrofoam up a conveyor belt, chops and heats it, and then it becomes a paste. The paste is then sent off to other partners in New Jersey and California that turn it into pellets, which are eventually made into durable plastic items like desk organizers, picture frames, hangers, CD cases and more. And it kept the Styrofoam out of our landfill," Marisa says.
With her persistence and passion, Marisa hopes that, in her 6-year-old sons lifetime, landfills will no longer be necessary. Shes doing her part to pass along the fervor to her young protégé.
"My son is really into recycling. Hes been vocal about the need for it at his school and with his little friends. It gives me a lot of pride that this is something that will always be second nature to him," Marisa says.