Improving sustainability and productivity with cardboard reuse initiative

At the EnerSys® Richmond, Kentucky plant, we manufacture a variety of batteries and related parts, including battery sleeves. Battery sleeves are an essential part of batteries as they separate the positive and negative plates in a battery in order for it to properly function. Anthony Jones, EOS Coordinator, is heavily involved in the sleeve making process, which utilizes raw materials from our suppliers – each separated by a flat carboard divider to ensure there is no contact damage – as an input in the process.

“Up until April 2021, when the raw materials entered the manufacturing process, these cardboard dividers just piled up in front of the machines,” says Anthony. “Because of this build up, the process would have to stop 2-3 times a day for approximately 20-30 minutes at a time in order to remove this carboard waste.”

Anthony, who supports efficiency and waste reduction projects in Richmond, saw an opportunity to make better use of this carboard, saving money and time all while reducing waste. “We use the same type of cardboard to partition and cushion batteries in the shipping process to our customers – why couldn’t we reuse the carboard we already have instead of throwing it out and having to buy more carboard?” said Anthony.

He and Abhishek Jani, EOS Manager, discussed the idea with key decision-makers, who conducted a thorough review and assessment.

Before implementing, the team at Richmond ensured that there were no customer concerns, quality, or health issues with the reuse of the cardboard and found that all parties involved were pleased with this new environmentally friendly and time-saving solution.

Now, at the start of the sleeve making process, a set of racks are in place to collect the cardboard in perfect condition for reuse in our packaging materials. Operators have a lighter workload now that they do not have to bring the cardboard to the compactor and are able to maintain constant manufacturing speeds without unnecessary stops.

“With cardboard costs going up, we’ve already saved tens of thousands of dollars,” said Abhishek. “And that’s not counting the increased productivity time and decreased use of our compactor.”

“This is not only a solution that is better for the environment and our bottom line, but it is also promoting employee sustainability,” said Anthony. “When our ideas are heard and implemented, we know we’re cared for and take pride in being part of viable solutions that make the business better.”



Cardboard collected for reuse.