Voltgard, a division of Saf-T-Gard International, Inc., is doing its part to keep both industrial workers and the environment safe by implementing “greener” business practices such as recycling 22 tons of out-of-service rubber insulating products (gloves, blankets, etc.) generated at the Voltgard Test Lab to prevent further landfill pollution and its environmental consequences.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. produces 254 million tons of trash per year (9 percent of which is made up by rubber, leather and textiles) and only recycles/composts 34.3 percent (87 million tons). This presents several serious environmental issues especially when rubber waste is considered in measurements more equitable to the impact. Not only are the landfills running out of space, but they also release toxic chemicals like methane that creep into the ecosystem as the garbage decomposes. These harmful chemicals evaporate into the air and leek into the ground, which threatens the water supply. Additionally, processing garbage emits carbon, which has been significantly linked to the depletion of the ozone layer and global warming. Moreover, landfills also pose significant financial implications, as it costs $50 per ton on average to send trash to the landfill, whereas it only costs $30 per ton to recycle.

Given the unique properties of rubber materials, the overall use of rubber for a large number of applications is constantly on the rise and becoming an ever-increasing focus of concern. The safety equipment industry is not exempt, as rubber materials are widely used in gloves and other personal protective equipment, most notably rubber insulating gloves, sleeves and blankets utilized by electrical utilities, contractors, telecom companies, municipalities, first responders and industrial facilities.

Regulatory standards require regular inspection and periodic retesting of electrical protective equipment prior to use. Saf-T-Gard is uniquely qualified to service dielectric testing needs while meeting all applicable industry standards with its Voltgard Test Lab - the largest, independent, NAIL4PET-accredited test lab in the U.S., outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment for the complete testing and recertification of rubber gloves, sleeves, blankets, line hose, jumpers, grounding sets, hot sticks, and more. The Voltgard Test Lab collects tons of rubber insulating products that must be removed from service because they are no longer safe to use, and in order to help preserve our environment, the company regularly recycles its scrap rubber, thereby helping to sustain the ecosystem and save money.

“Our recycling efforts do not stop with the Voltgard Test Lab, said Richard Rivkin, President and CEO, Saf-T-Gard International. “Some of our low-cost knitted work gloves are manufactured from purified, re-spun yarn that consists of recycled textiles from apparel production and recycled plastics from water and soft drink bottles. In our warehouse operation, we bale our scrap corrugated cardboard to send to a recycler, and we purchase corrugated shipping cartons with a high recycled content. Saf-T-Gard never forgets that the first P in PPE stands for personal. Protecting the environment is something that personally-affects everyone, and the Saf-T-Gard team will continue to take an active part in providing safety solutions that benefit industry workers and the environment.”

To learn more, please visit www.saftgard.com or call 1-800-548-4273.