IWE Success Stories
Cedar Crest Manufacturing
by Bart Knox, Area 4
Cedar Crest Manufacturing produces custom designed promotional ink pens for organizations around the world. “The company opened in 2009 and started with 8 employees and now we have twenty,” said Cedar Crest Vice President Dave Thalacker. Since opening in 2009 sales have more than doubled and Cedar Crest prints and ships millions of pens each year. Thalacker contacted the Iowa Waste Exchange looking for assistance to efficiently divert cardboard and plastic wrap, both of which are generated in large quantities through their manufacturing processes.
During the site visit, another item was identified that was scheduled to be landfilled: a pallet with boxes full of off-spec but working ink pens. Thalacker explained what causes the off-spec pens. “Every order we print is custom and specific to the customer. During the set-up process, several pieces are needed to test for alignment of artwork on the pen and also to verify the imprint is clear. Additionally, while printing an order, any piece of dirt, even a small speck of dust, may get into the screen and cause part of the imprint to be missing on the pen; those pens must be rejected.” Thalacker said he did not want the pens to end up in the landfill. He offered them for free to anyone willing to pick them up but he preferred that they went to a good cause.
Iowa Waste Exchange area IV representative Bart Knox worked with ECICOG solid waste planner Kristen Simon to reach out to schools within the ECICOG planning area. With school budgets always being tight, free ink pens for students were a big hit. Ten schools in Linn, Johnson, and Iowa counties each received between 1,000 and 7,000 ink pens. In total, Cedar Crest donated and diverted more than 30,000 ink pens from the landfill.
In addition to distributing off-spec pens Cedar Crest also recycles cardboard, mixed paper, and plastics. “We appreciate the efforts of the IWE to make this project happen. Not only are we recycling a lot more material, we are also saving money and valuable production time by recycling,” said Thalacker.