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Becker Underwood reduces plastic footprint - Saskatoon facility switches to biodegradable plastic overbags to support sustainability initiative

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
February 16, 2012

Becker Underwood is replacing its plastic bags with a thinner, biodegradable bag. This change will reduce the company's use of raw plastic by 14 per cent.

"Our new biodegradable overbags break down with bacteria and degrade and disappear quickly in landfill," says Brent Chamberlain, head of operations at the Saskatoon facility of Becker Underwood. "Part of our commitment to becoming a sustainable business is reducing packaging waste. The switch to biodegradable overbags is important."

Becker Underwood has taken steps to quantify the effects of changes such as this under a new program called NET positive. All businesses have positive and negative impacts on the environment and society through their policies, processes and products. NET positive is about measuring and communicating goals put in place to have a net positive impact on the environment, society and economic growth of the company. Transparency is a cornerstone of the NET positive program. The company's progress and programs can be seen in detail at www.sustainbu.com.

"It's easy for companies to say that they're sustainable but we've drawn up a framework to measure our progress," says Daniel Krohn, sustainability lead for Becker Underwood. "Every product has an impact on the environment, but many of the negative impacts are unnecessary. It's our goal to find the unnecessary waste and eliminate it."

Using thinner, biodegradable bags came out of a lifecycle assessment in which Becker Underwood looked at its products from cradle to grave. Ordinary plastic bags take up to 100 years or more to degrade. Last year, the Saskatoon facility used almost 15,000 pounds of plastic for overbags, most of which were either buried or burned. "As a leading manufacturer in Saskatoon, it is our duty to help protect the environment and alleviate the problems of waste caused by heavy usage of plastic bags," says Chamberlain.

Other Becker Underwood NET positive initiatives include purchasing renewable energy credits to offset 100% of the company's electricity use. The company also put solar panels on a production facility in Missouri.

"Sustainability fits with our core business and what we do best," says Krohn. "Consumers and our customers want companies to be more responsible for their actions. We're actively meeting those wishes."

In Western Canada, the Becker Underwood portfolio of products includes New Nodulator® XL and Nodulator® for peas and lentils, Nodulator® N/T and Nodulator® Spherical Granules for soybeans, and Nodulator® for dry beans, faba beans and chickpeas. In Eastern Canada, soybean growers use HiStick® N/T and HiCoat® N/T S255. Becker Underwood also sells biologicals and beneficial nematodes in the horticulture and professional lawncare markets under brand names such as Nemasys® and Nemasys® G.

HiCoat®, HiStick®, Nemasys® and Nodulator® are registered trademarks used under license by Becker Underwood Canada Ltd. The Becker Underwood logo is a trademark of Becker Underwood, Inc and is licensed to Becker Underwood Canada Ltd.

More news from: Becker Underwood

Website: http://www.seedquest.com/yellowpages/americas/usa/b/beckerunderwood/default.htm

Published: February 17, 2012

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