VIDEO CREDIT: ERNESTO SANCHEZ AND ALFREDO COELLO
Almost everything comes in a box these days. Whether ordering shoes from an online store, buying your weekly groceries from the local market or gift wrapping toys for the holidays, what you purchase likely comes in a box.
And that corrugated box may have been made at one of many plants — including one in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. — owned by U.S. Corrugated, Inc., a national corrugated packaging producer known for its environmentally friendly products.
“We produce a lot more with a lot less energy than your typical plant,” said Mark Belser, U.S. Corrugated, Inc. manufacturing manager for the Santa Fe Springs plant, noting they recycle paper, metal and plastic at the facility. They also use wastewater treatment equipment to help save water. “We work with the local communities to reduce our environmental footprint.”
Two years ago, U.S. Corrugated, Inc. looked to expand its operations and narrowed it down to two locations: Santa Fe Springs or Monroe, La. In an effort led by the governor’s office, an economic development team was created — including Southern California Edison, Go-Biz, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation and the city of Santa Fe Springs — to help convince the company to build in Southern California.
Today, what started as an empty building on Mica Street in Santa Fe Springs is now a super plant. The high-tech machinery throughout 200,000 square feet of space is energy-efficient and their products are environmentally friendly with 85 percent of each box made with recycled paper goods. U.S. Corrugated, Inc. also does not own any paper mills and instead works with global suppliers.
As large piles of corrugated boxes wait in neat rows to be shipped to customers from a variety of industries, including food processors, soft drink companies and retail stores, machinery controlled by computers and operated by robots hums 24 hours a day, five days a week. Staff use touchscreen computers to process orders on machines that can churn 350 boxes a minute.
“To see this plant come to fruition is amazing,” said Tod Sword, SCE Economic Development consultant, who first worked with U.S. Corrugated, Inc. in 2015, a company with 3 megawatts of load, roughly enough electricity to power 2,250 homes at once. “It is truly about creating jobs that support the quality of life in California. We are helping the state’s regional economy.”
SCE’s Economic Development Services team — a group that partners with the city, county and state to attract and retain business customers that might otherwise leave SCE’s service territory — worked with U.S. Corrugated, Inc. to help the company save energy and money with a robust set of California incentives. Two programs they participated in were SCE’s Economic Development Rate and Savings by Design, an energy-efficiency program for the design phase of a new construction or major renovation.
Through Savings by Design, U.S. Corrugated, Inc. installed LED lights with sensors throughout its plant and offices. They also installed energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Through this program, the company’s annual energy savings is $170,143 and they also received a one-time incentive of $79,000.
“Our hope is that these types of incentives will offset the initial costs for businesses,” said Andrew Lee, an SCE technical specialist who works with businesses enrolled in Savings by Design, a program that allows SCE to partner with customers meeting their sustainability goals.
With the success of the Santa Fe Springs plant, U.S. Corrugated, Inc., recently developed a new converting facility where it will operate a sheet plant in Cerritos. The two plants will employ about 150 people from the local area.
“We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish here in Santa Fe Springs the past two years,” said Dave Doherty, U.S. Corrugated, Inc. CFO, who praised the economic development team. “We are investing in Cerritos because we have been successful here.”
“SCE is only as strong as our customers and we are proud to provide our customers every advantage to be as successful as possible by tapping into economic development resources,” said Sword.
For more information: SCE.com/eds.
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