TPSA Presents Program Innovation Award – 2021

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Contact:  Ples Spradley, TPSA Awards Chair
Phone:  501-671-2234
E-mail: [email protected]

St. Louis, MO – The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA) held its annual conference virtually in February and presented the Program Innovation Award to Schuetz Container Systems in Plainfield, IN.  Dave Okerson, Plant Production Manager, accepted the award on behalf of the team and serves as the TSEP Manager.  In addition to Okerson the team includes Ken Rittenhouse, Tom Tarnowski, and Brian Clark.

Schuetz Company exists to provide a solution for returning and reconditioning of empty IBC containers.  The inner bottles are removed and reground in a closed cycle washing and cleaning process to produce pure HDPE granulate.

Schuetz has many locations around the globe, and one is located in Plainfield Indiana.  The annual sustainability impact of this plant is avoiding 21,400 MT of carbon emissions by reusing the steel cages and pallets, and regrinding and molding the plastic inner tanks into pallets and corner protectors. They provide 100% recycling.   In addition, 7,800 MT of steel and 3,000 MT of plastic are saved per year.

A few years back, the Plant Production Manager, Dave Okerson, was having troubles with employee turnover.  Trouble here is defined as 200%!!!  He reached out to his local Catholic Charities organization that he knew was helping refugees from Myanmar.  He inquired if anyone needed employment.  The response was overwhelming, and Schuetz did everything they could to accommodate them including signage and trainings in multiple languages plus translation services are provided.  Most new employees did not have cars, so Schuetz purchased a van and hired a driver to take workers to and from work.  They even added special platforms for employees not tall enough to reach the top of the IBCs!  These dedicated hardworking employees increased production and at the same time improved their safety record. The plant now recycles over 5,000 IBCs per week.  Needless to say, this has solved their turnover problem. Not only do they have a diligent workforce, but it’s also a sustainable model as most employees have recruited their friends and family to join this great place to work.

The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA), founded in 2000, is an organization of federal, state, and local governmental agencies, educational and research institutions, public organizations, private corporations, and individuals that are actively involved in different aspects of pesticide stewardship.  The goals of TPSA are to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and longevity of various pesticide stewardship efforts.

Please go to the TPSA web site for more information. The 2022 Pesticide Stewardship Conference is scheduled for February 1-3 in Reno, Nevada.