One Earth, One Chance: PacifiCrest and the Environment
PacifiCrest has been at the forefront of sustainable manufacturing practices for two decades. We deeply respect the beauty and inspiration of nature. In fact, the company was named after the Pacific Crest Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when it was founded in 1978. In light of this tradition, PacifiCrest is an environmentally responsible manufacturer of recyclable commercial carpet. We make it a priority to reduce the impact of our processes on the environment and the demand for non-renewable resources.
In 1996, PacifiCrest became one of the first businesses in Irvine to connect to the city’s then newly-created reclaimed water distribution system. By using reclaimed water, we save millions of gallons of potable water per year. For this effort, we received the “Water Winner Award” from the Irvine Ranch Water District.
A move that helped pioneer a new technology in energy efficiency was the installation of two co-generation engines in 1993. From one fuel, which is natural gas, we create steam for the turbines that generate electricity for our manufacturing facilities. The steam is then re-used to heat water for our dyeing equipment. Thus, one fuel source yields two types of energy – electrical and thermal. By generating our own electricity, we reduce demand on the local public utility company and the regional power grid. Another key benefit is that natural gas creates as little as one-twentieth the emissions of the coal or oil traditionally used to generate the electricity alone.
As nylon is sheared from the surface pile of carpet during the finishing process, it is aggressively vacuumed. The sheared nylon is collected, bagged, and sold to be down-cycled into the manufacturing of automotive parts. These procedures reduce the demand for virgin raw materials made from petroleum, the world’s most critical non-renewable resource.
Heat recycling technology also came to us in the multi-million dollar modernization of our finishing line, which became operational in January 1997. This system dramatically reduces energy use and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Low Impact Manufacturing Practices
PacifiCrest and its parent company, Royalty Carpet Mills, Inc., have historically been proactive in implementing environmental safeguards and in surpassing all environmental compliance regulations. In fact, we were named a “Clean Air Partner” with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which is among the strictest environmental regulatory agencies in the USA, for achieving the 2004 target levels for NO2 (nitrous oxide) emissions five years ahead of schedule.
Reclaimed Water Re-Use
During the dyeing process at PacifiCrest, the dyestuffs are almost completely absorbed by the carpet so the post-dyeing water runs virtually clear. We further clean it in a de-fuzzing process to remove nylon fiber. It is then returned to the Water District’s reclaimed water distribution system for further industrial use. Thus, the reclaimed water is used again and again for non-consumer purposes in a closed-loop environment.
Indoor Air Quality Protection
By using the lowest VOC materials available in the backing process, all PacifiCrest products exceed the “Green Label Plus” specifications for low emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) established by the Carpet and Rug Institute.
Re-Use, Recycling, Reclamation
Reclamation of Hard Waste from Manufacturing
Hard waste from manufacturing, which is primarily factory-trimmed pieces or finished carpet, and includes nylon fiber, the polypropylene backings, and the latex binder, has recently found new life. In a newly developed process, the waste is heated and pulverized to a grainy consistency, then used as a binder in asphalt paving projects. Other technologies are turning this scrap into mix-plastic materials for under-hood automotive applications, or as a substitute for gypsum drywall.
Re-Use of Packaging Materials
The hard cardboard cones used to hold yarn for tufting are all sent back to our yarn processing plant to be re-used. Carpet cores are continuously recycled as carpet is rolled up and unrolled during various manufacturing processes. Cardboard boxes from yarn transport are broken down and sent back to the yarn plant for repeat use.
Recycling and Responsibility in Our Plants and Offices
At PacifiCrest, our plants and offices are directed to practice important recycling procedures such as:
- Send scrap metal from repair or retrofitting of equipment to a metal recycler
- Re-circulate water for pump seal cooling in a closed-cycle system
- Reprocess shrink-wrap used in bundling yarn shipments in much the same way supermarket bags are turned into new packaging
- Collect, separate, and recycle office paper refuse from other waste
- Set aside bins in lunch and break areas to collect aluminum cans and plastic bottles for recycling.
- Provide dedicated preferred parking spots and other employee incentives to encourage carpooling to reduce traffic and pollution.
- Arrange plant hours so when shifts change, the resulting impact on local traffic occurs at non-peak hours
- Use electric lift trucks in all manufacturing and shipping areas
- Establish smoke-free zones in all offices and plants
- Use super granulated dyestuffs to eliminate dusting
- Utilize complete spill recovering procedures
- Provide used cardboard drums to local chemical suppliers for re-use or use returnable totes and drums
- Return all used motor and machine oil for safe disposal
PacifiCrest is also an active, participating member of the CRI West Coast Technical Committee, promoting and pushing for reform on many environmental issues, including use of recycled water, the Title V Clean Air Act, carpet recycling, scrim waste disposal and indoor air quality. In addition, PacifiCrest and Royalty work hand-in-hand with suppliers to educate them on California’s environmental initiatives.