Sterling operates with an incredible level of efficiency in regards to waste. Over 95% of the raw fiber that we purchase gets made into finished product rope. Everything else that does not make it into the final product gets either repurposed or recycled.
In 2018 we:
- Used 1,110,832 lbs of fiber to make ropes
- Produced 73,649 lbs of scrap, flat fiber and twisted fiber
- Sold 100% of scrap fiber to Leigh Fibers and R&M International, for manufacturing as it is, or to melt the material down into pellets
- Recycled 1,800 lbs of used or damaged rope, with a company called Mafia Bags, who incorporates the material into their product line
- Sold 4,800 lbs of clean rope ends to Mountain Dog and Krebs Recycle, companies that makes dog leashes using our rope ends
- Sold 10,000 lbs of prime shorts that would otherwise be waste, to companies like FlowFold and Cowboy Yo-Yo
- Prime shorts + rope ends + used rope + recycled fiber = 90,249 lbs of potential waste that was recycled or sold
Sterling has always been a sustainable rope company.
Over 10 years ago, Sterling started its Rope Recycling Program. We take back any used Dynamic rope – not just ours – and either upcycle or recycle it.
We donate used rope to non- profits, schools and youth programs. A local non-profit turned the old ropes we gave them into works of art.
Used rope also goes to companies that make non-life-safety products, or use them for other purposes like hand bags.
What isn't upcycled, is sent to a recycling company that chops the rope up, and then sends the fibers to manufacturers making products like carpeting.
They also melt the ropes down into pellets and use them to make products like action figures, key chains and toy dinosaurs, using a process called rotational (or roto) molding.
From Start to Finish.
We use bluesign® approved fibers and look for supply chain partners that prioritize sustainability.
2. Limiting Fiber Waste
Every stage of rope production produces some fiber waste, and we focus on limiting that waste to an absolute minimum. The fiber waste that is generated is recycled.
3. Clean Harbors®
All onsite oils and cleaners are captured and disposed of properly through companies, like Clean Harbors®.
4. “Prime Shorts”
“Prime Shorts” (the last bit of rope that isn’t long enough to be one of our products,) are sold to companies that make cool lifestyle products with rope – like dog leashes – or incorporate rope in a product – like drawstrings for bags.
5. Recycled & Biodegradable
Our packaging is sourced from recycled and biodegradable materials, like our Accessory Cord bags.
6. High-Quality Ropes
If your rope lasts longer – without losing performance and handling – then you’ll keep using it, keeping it out of landfills. Making the best handling, most durable ropes has been our passion and trademark since our first ropes went out the door in 1993. We will send them to an efficient recycling expert that grinds up, melts down, then repelletizes the nylon so it can be re-made into a variety of items like carpet fiber, telephones, coat hangers and even children's toys!
Our goal is to minimize waste wherever possible. All our waste fiber is recycled, all our cardboard is repurposed, our oils and cleaners are captured and disposed of properly, and plastic bags used to protect our yarn coming in are used to protect our ropes and spools going out.