Crane Consumables invests in the environment

In fact, the company pays to convert the 100 tons waste a year into burnable fuel pellets — which owner Rod Crane said burns hotter than coal — and ships it to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania companies.

“I would hope that somebody around here would find some way to use this stuff,” said Crane, who added the company is in talks with a couple area businesses.

The company started off as a two-person business in 2006 with Crane and a now-retired partner “right in the worst economic time you could possibly imagine,” he said.

But Crane started his business because he was “tired of the big corporate life” and wanted to work for himself.

Crane now employs around 20 people at his warehouse at 155 Westheimer Drive, and his business is growing — which “is a good reflection of the economy,” said Robert Crane, who’s in charge of the company’s sales and marketing. “If we’re shipping out a lot, then that means more people are buying products and shipping products.”

The company’s growth — making eight hires in 2012 — and recycling efforts also landed it the Faith in the Future award by the Chamber of Commerce Serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton. In 2012, the company grew financially more than 30 percent over 2011, and grew more than 25 percent in 2011 over 2010, Robert Crane said.

While that profits means a healthy company, that also means more waste.

Any manufacturer’s finished product has waste from the raw materials. Crane Consumables started out filling a small Dumpster once a week. Then it was twice a week, and three times a week. They used a larger Dumpster and filled that up twice a week.

“We finally said enough’s enough,” said Rod Crane. “There’s got to be a better way. We made the effort.”

The company invested in a bailer in January 2012 and hung vacuum tubes from the ceiling of its warehouse to collect the waste. It first took three months to produced nearly 40 bails, or more than 20 tons, of waste to fill a trailer.

Now they produce that much every two months, or about 100 tons a year.

The effort works in all aspects of the company, said Robert Crane, adding the company recycles around 98 percent of all its waste.

Other larger paper companies do a similar process, said Rod Crane, but sell it for a profit. While that may be a consideration in the future, he said that’s not the point.

“Right now our goal is to keep it from going into the landfill, and to set an example. Why can’t anybody else do it?” Rod Crane said. “It is a big issue, believe me. A small company like us, if we generate this much stuff can you imagine what the big guys do?”

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