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Success Stories

Here you'll find a sampling of several firms in the Pacific Northwest that have used materials exchanges successfully to solve both waste disposal and materials acquisition challenges.

Steve Zak, Tektronix
  Steve Zak, Tektronix


Located in Beaverton, Oregon, Tektronix Inc. employs approximately 5,000 people and manufactures electronic components and equipment. Tektronix had a "wanted" posting in the IMEX listings for caustic soda solution (sodium hydroxide) in small or large quantities up to 10,000 gallons a month, for use in their Beaverton wastewater treatment facility. After about 2 months of listing in IMEX they were approached by Protective Environmental Services, a waste broker in Seattle, Washington, who had a client with 50,000 pounds of sodium hydroxide. The material was given to Tektronix at no charge except for transportation, saving the company about $7,000 and meeting Tektronix's needs for several months. The broker's party in the exchange saved the cost of hazardous waste disposal which would have easily been another $5,000. Tektronix has used IMEX for the last 5 years and has successfully conducted several other exchanges for different materials.

Virtual Office Systems
, a small company that sells and repairs computer systems, used a local on-line exchange service to exchange 2' X 2' packing foam squares with another local business who used the materials to pack its own products for shipping. This saved Virtual Office Systems about $60 in disposal costs, and gave the packing material another chance to be reused.

Located just outside of Portland, Epson Portland, Inc. primarily manufactures ink jet cartridges. From time to time, the company accumulates quantities of 55 gallon polypropylene barrels that are used for ink storage. Through the IMEX materials exchange, Epson avoided several hundred dollars of typical solid waste disposal fees by giving 30 barrels to a business in Washington State, which would have normally paid $800 to purchase the barrels.

A national leader in the manufacture of non-dairy drink products such as soy and rice milk, Pacific Foods in Tualatin often needs to dispose of various types of metal and plastic 55-gallon drums. When a vendor or recycler can't take its drums, the company has successfully listed them on IMEX. In one exchange, Pacific Foods sent 19 barrels to Nike to be used as water tubs for a tennis shoe durability experiment. This exchange resulted in savings of $442 in purchasing costs by Nike and $425 in avoided disposal costs by Pacific Foods.

Paul Wilson, Molecular Probes
  Paul Wilson, Molecular Probes


Molecular Probes
of Eugene specializes in manufacturing and researching fluorescent probes and chemicals for the scientific field. They've successfully used IMEX over the last 5 years to find new homes for miscellaneous equipment that was no longer needed. Among the various successful exchanges, Molecular Probes has been able to sell industrial pumps to a California business for $1000; electric water boilers for $500; and even a small forklift for $500. Not only did the company extend the life of these products, they also made a profit from what would have been "waste."

Just before peak season when new kayaks are shipping to the store, Bend Outdoor finds itself with enormous quantities of bubble wrap to dispose of. By listing the material on a local on-line exchange service, the outfitter found other interested people locally to reuse the material. This exchange kept over 600 pounds of bubble wrap from being landfilled.

Metolius Climbing
, a 65-employee manufacturer of sport climbing equipment useda local on-line exchange service to reduce its waste output. The company has given away cardboard tubes to a teacher for classroom learning projects, as well as plastic sheeting, and fabric scraps that individuals use in craft projects. The company has avoided about $125 in disposal fees, and given the "waste" new life in the classroom.

Western Electronics, Delta Corporation
manufactures and fabricates precision sheet metal products in Tualatin, Oregon. Through IMEX, they have successfully exchanged several chemical products used for steel plating and aluminum coating including ISO Prep 44, powder form cleaning compound, and magnesium oxide. In the past year, Western Electronics sold 55 pounds of the ISO prep 44 and powder form cleaning compound to Columbia American Plating in Portland, Oregon, which in turn used the chemical material in their production process. This exchange represented cost savings to Columbia American Plating of approximately $300 and cost savings to Western Electronics of approximately $600 for avoided disposal costs. Western Electronics also sold 100 pounds of magnesium oxide to a private party that used it in their production process. This exchange represented approximately a $500 cost savings to the purchaser and cost savings to Western Electronics of approximately $600 for avoided disposal costs. With over $1,200 in savings from disposal costs as a direct result of using IMEX, they continue to list materials available on the IMEX system and find the system very useful.

Karlene Larson, Sattex Corporation
  Karlene Larson, Sattex


Located in White City, near Medford, Sattex Corporation specializes in manufacturing abrasive polishing compounds for manufacturers of products in the metals, plastics, fiberglass, jewelry and various other finishing industries. By listing materials they no longer needed on IMEX, Sattex was able to sell four mixing tanks weighing 2,000 pounds each to a company in Washington for $3,000. Through their listings Sattex also gave 20 unused abrasive belts to various businesses around Oregon (a total savings of $525 to the various businesses).

Sattex also sources material (fiber drums) on IMEX, saving the company approximately $16,000 to $17,000 per year. With a year-round need of about 100 barrels every month, Sattex manages to obtain all of its fiber drums, used for packing and storing materials, through the IMEX service. Purchased new, this would normally cost about $27,600 a year, but through IMEX, Sattex obtains the drums at a used price determined by the vendor, or sometimes by just paying the shipping fee.

The Oregon Arena Corporation in Portland (better known as the Rose Garden Arena) had four hundred 5-gallon pails of Duropex Spray-Tek 3 coating (a coating used to protect concrete from wear) left over from the construction of the Rose Garden. They listed this material on IMEX, and found an interested exchange partner: a painting contractor from Oklahoma City. He came to Portland and was given the coating for use in an office building in Oklahoma. Estimated savings to the Oklahoma contractor was $80,000, since this product was a high value product, while Oregon Arena Corp. saved approximately $3,000 from not having to dispose of the coating.

Evanite Fiber Corporation
currently has two divisions and manufactures specialty glass fibers as well as hardboard panels from recycled wood in Corvallis, Oregon. When Evanite closed its 3rd division (Battery Separator) in 1995, an Evanite purchasing agent chose to list 34 items from the Separator Plant needing removal as "available" materials in the IMEX catalog. Within two months, Evanite found users ranging from Portland to New Jersey for 12 of these listings, including granular limestone and various types of plastics and organic chemicals. Total materials exchanged exceeded ten tons, saving Evanite more than $4,500 in avoided disposal costs. The market value of materials re-used exceeded $11,500.

Planar Systems
manufactures electroluminescent flat-panel displays at its facility in Beaverton, Oregon. The company used to generate about 1,800 gallons per year of slightly contaminated isopropanol (IPA), used for cleaning the display panels. Planar listed this waste in the IMEX catalog and was contacted by Western Foundry in Portland, which took all of Planar's IPA for use in treating metal parts castings. This saved Western Foundry over $4,000 a year on solvent purchases. Unfortunately, Western Foundry ceased operations in Portland, so Planar Systems again listed the IPA as "available" in IMEX. They were quickly approached by Riverview Floral in Omak, Washington, which took Planar's IPA for use as a carrier for dyes used to color dried flowers. Planar Systems recently eliminated the use of IPA altogether, but over a period of nine years these IMEX exchanges saved the company almost $19,000 in avoided disposal costs.


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