Happy Earth Day! We’ve talked before about how Cabot uses a closed-loop system and recycles up to 100% of water used in Marcellus operations, so today we’re going to look at something else that’s helping the environment – the recycling of our pad liners.
Protecting the earth to occupying landfill space
As we’ve detailed before, natural gas sites take precautions to and often include a plastic liner that is put down to help prevent any spills from reaching the ground underneath. We are proud of these extra steps taken to ensure the safety of the environment, but once operations are completed and a wellhead is producing, the liners are removed and sent for disposal in landfills.
Ultra-Poly Corporation + WellSpring Environmental team up to recycle pad liners
WellSpring Environmental is a company that transports pad site liners from all over Pennsylvania from all of the various Marcellus and Utica operators. They realized quickly that all of the pad liners were great at protecting the environment while they were in place, but then they were taking up a lot of space once their job was completed.
They went to the PA Recycling Center where they were put in touch with Ultra-Poly Corporation – a company that up until then had been recycling manufacturing wastes and selling the resins for reuse. So for example, if during the manufacturing of plastic bags you get a grocery stores there were un-formed bags or waste, Ultra-Poly would process to resin for the company to reuse.
If they could do it for other plastics, why not try recycling pad site liners?
Far-reaching recycling program
We spoke to Scott Fought, Owner of WellSpring (and Director of Business Development for Ultra-Poly) to get some more info on this brilliant partnership.
When did WellSpring and Ultra-Poly first start venturing into oil and gas industry recycling?
In 2011, research and development was initiated to make sure it was feasible. After studying it, we began transporting and recycling the liners in the first half of 2012.
What happens to the recycled pad liners?
They are processed down into resin. From there, the resin can be sold to customers to make other products, or it is formed into berms that are then used in the oil and gas industry to help with containment and other environmental work. It can truly be a closed-loop process.
Is WellSpring the only way that pad liners are getting to the facility?
No – we have working partnerships with a variety of trucking companies who will bring the liners to Ultra-Poly. Plus, we work with many landfills around Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio so that they set aside the liners and they are then transported to the processing facility in Berwick, Pennsylvania.
We’ve actually taken liners from all across the oil and gas fields including the Bakken since to our knowledge we are the only company that is recycling liners to this end product.
How much have you been able to recycle?
In 2012, we estimate that the amount of recycled pad liners would have taken up the space equivalent of 10 Empire State Buildings and that it was about 7 ½ times MORE than the curbside pickup amount in the entire state of Pennsylvania.
That’s a lot of liners!