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How many products does Absorbent Products Ltd. have?
Who are some of your customers?
Absorbent Products Ltd. (APL) currently produces over one-hundred and forty branded and private label
products for the pet, industrial, and agricultural industries. These products are recognized and sold throughout
the United States and Canada, as well as offshore.
How much crystalline silica do your granular absorbents contain?
All of our granular absorbent products contain less then 1% Crystalline Silica. These products are not WHMIS controlled.
Where is your production facility?
At Absorbent Products Ltd., we strive to build strong and lasting relationships with the individuals, and organizations we deal with in all aspects of our business. Our dedication to building and sustaining these relationships is reflected by the lengthy list of large national and international customers and clients that have chosen to deal with us, rather than our competitors. We have worked with many of these companies for over 20
years. This list of companies includes well-known and respected companies such as Overwaitea, Federated Coop, Safeway Canada, Loblaw and Wal-Mart, to name a few. We believe that, along with our commitment to producing a wide range of value-added products, it is these longstanding relationships, characterized by integrity and trust, that have allowed us to successfully compete with the large, US based, New York Stock
Exchange listed companies operating in our market area. We also have long term relationships with most of our major suppliers, who we go out of our way to make sure they are treated fairly. We believe that these relationships are mutually beneficial.
Absorbent Products Ltd. has been in operation since 1989 and is the sole producer of diatomaceous earth in Canada, as well as one of only two producers of bentonite. The unique, natural blend of diatomaceous earth and calcium rich montmorillonite in our deposit is mined near Kamloops and forms the basis for most of the company’s products. The materials mined from APL’s various mine sites are processed from a raw mineral into
a finished product, all within the company’s processing plant in Kamloops, BC. Most of our products leave the plant and will go to store shelves without further processing or packaging. We believe that by mining and processing our materials within British Columbia we provide a significant value-added component to the BC economy.
What is APL's Safety Record?
Absorbent Products Ltd. has developed a comprehensive safety program whereby all employees are offered first aid training and additional training relating to their individual positions. This helps to create a safe work environment and to develop a workforce that is committed to safe work practices.
All employees are offered, and given time to attend, First Aid Level 1 courses which are held at the plant. Any employees that are unable to attend are given the opportunity and the time to take the course at another time and location. These courses provide the education needed for our employees to recognize and foster a safe working environment.
With approximately fifty-one employees currently working at APL, each accident has a significant impact on operations, WSBC rates and potentially the lives and families of those involved therefore, we believe that no accident, no matter how large or small, is acceptable. In order to provide a safe environment, initiatives are regularly taken to reduce both the number and types of accidents.
One such initiative taken by APL was to determine the cause and location of recurring injuries. This initiative determined that most of our claims are related to strains caused by heavy lifting in the packaging area. To help prevent this type of injury, a new, state of the art, robotic palletizer has been installed in order to eliminate a great deal of the heavy lifting in this area. The robot palletizes bags and boxes from two lines in a unique, highly efficient, configuration that was designed and developed in partnership with the equipment manufacturer specifically to meet our needs. The manufacturer has adopted this configuration as a new standard for palletizing equipment layouts due to its reduced footprint and operating efficiency. In addition to the new robotic palletizer, APL also provided training to its employees in proper lifting techniques. WorkSafeBC representatives were pleased with the new equipment and the training undertaken.
While the plant at Absorbent Products Ltd. is covered by WorkSafeBC, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources covers the company’s two mine sites, neither of which has seen a lost time accident in over 18 years.
A Safety Awards program has also been established at APL, in order to recognize individuals that have not experienced a lost time accident during the previous year. An Early Return to Work Program has been developed to help employees remain a part of the workforce and prevent them from becoming isolated at home.
How does Absorbent Products Ltd maximize its natural resources?
Here at Absorbent Products Ltd., we strive to use our external resources in an effective and efficient manner. Our objective is to use all of the materials that are removed from our mine site, minimizing the waste that is produced through our operations.
Before material is shipped to our processing plant in Kamloops, it is stripped of its ore body and the overburden is saved for reclamation. As well, topsoil is removed and saved in separate areas for use in covering the reclaimed sites. Unlike many mined materials, we are able to use nearly all (98%) of what is transported to our processing facilities in Kamloops. In order to ensure that we produce as little waste as possible, we have
developed a diverse range of products, allowing us to use the various granulation sizes that are produced. In fact, we have found that the fine material produced during the processing of our diatomaceous earth (that may be discarded in other operations) can be used to manufacture various products for the livestock and agricultural industries.
The same is true of our bentonite. In addition to cat litter, we also have developed products for use as binders in animal feeds and fertilizer. As well, our research with Professor Moir Haug, on the use of bentonite as a natural pond liner, will further expand the range of materials that we are able to make use of. While we are able to use nearly all of what is brought to our plant, any materials that cannot be utilized are reclaimed and returned to the mine site or used to form the top cover for landfills.
Once shipped to our plant in Kamloops, these materials are processed in an environmentally friendly manner without the use of tailings ponds or similar methods that may cause concern for the environment. Water used in our processes is nominal and the significant amount of steam that is generated during the drying process is released into the atmosphere in accordance with the Ministry of Environment permits.
In terms of processing, APL has, throughout the years, improved its processing efficiencies. In 2011, the company used approximately 13.7% less natural gas per tonne and about 2% less electricity (measured in kwh/tonne) than in 2004. We have also reduced our carbon footprint at the mine site even though additional equipment has been added. Currently, APL is working with Fortis and BC Hydro on programs which will help to
further reduce our natural gas and electric energy consumption.
How does Absorbent Products Ltd. handle some of the environmental issues around manufacturing ?
Absorbent Products Ltd. strives to operate in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. We believe in sustainable development and do our best to minimize the impact of our operations on the environment.
As part of this commitment, we actively undertake reclamation projects in order to minimize the amount of land that is disturbed through our mining operations. We have undisturbed and reclaimed land that is now available for agricultural purposes. Livestock is raised on our property and we continue to utilize our natural fertilizer, leonardite, to improve the quality of the soil and future yields of the property.
There are no liquid discharges from our operations and our packaging is recycled where possible.
In 2009, APL was one of 3 finalists for the Green Award sponsored by BC Hydro and the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce.
The emissions from our plant are consistently under the stated limit on stack tests, and APL recently partnered with Climate Smart in an effort to further reduce our carbon emissions. We have completed the Climate Smart training program and are now working diligently to reduce our carbon footprint. Currently we are working towards upgrading our product dryer, replaced our extruder with a newer model and re-insulated a large
storage warehouse, changes that should reduce our emissions significantly. Climate Smart recently asked us to support their outreach efforts in Prince George.
As well, APL is undergoing a study with Fortis which we believe will reduce our electrical and natural gas energy intensity per tonne by over 20%. As part of this study, our bag house operations will be reviewed in order to find ways to further reduce our emissions.
In addition to reducing our footprint from processing operations, our product packaging is also designed to be environmentally friendly and our products themselves are developed with the reduction of our consumers’ environmental impact in mind. We have developed packaging that uses 88% less polyethylene than the packaging it replaced. This packaging was entered in the Retail Council of Canada Grand Prix New Product AwardsTM by our customer, Safeway Canada.
What is Absorbent Products Ltd. doing to provide a sustainable future?
In our efforts to create a sustainable future, Absorbent Products Ltd. focuses heavily on the reclamation of our mine sites. We strive to return these sites to their natural state and, in some cases, have been able to develop reclamation sites that are more productive than those surrounding areas that have not been disturbed.
In 2007, we purchased a 1000 acre ranch adjacent to our Red Lake property. The land is used for grazing cattle. Upon reaching the end of its production period, areas of our mines are reclaimed and continue their life-cycle as productive additions to the ranch. The reclaimed areas site will be incorporated into the ranch’s pasture lands and will expand the grazing land that is available.
With the use of our natural fertilizer leonardite, we are able to increase the productivity of our reclaimed land, ranch and the surrounding area that has been previously unusable.
There are no rivers or streams in our mine sites and our deposits do not generate any harmful leachates, allowing us to operate without disturbing land beyond the limits of our mine site.
How can I become a distributor?
If you are interested in carrying any of our product lines, we would be pleased to hear from you. Please contact us for more information.
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