Submitted by: Dawn Hinz
Team Athletic Mentors/Greenware is proud of all of our Sponsors for stepping up and adjusting to the dynamic changes of this year. We thoroughly appreciate the support we have received from them. It enables us to encourage healthy living; albeit from a distance this year. In past years, Team Athletic Mentors gave back to the community by volunteering at multiple events including Team Athletic Mentors Greenware’s Youth Programs. Along with Greenware’s willingness to give back to the community, they stepped forward during this critical time to create Personal Protective Equipment to keep people safe and healthy amidst the COVID Crisis.
Fabri-Kal is a local company that was incorporated in 1950 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, when they purchased the Kalamazoo Paper Box Company’s plastic segment and set up shop in 5,000 square feet.
The first products Fabri-Kal produced were paint cups for the paint-by-number industry. The company soon expanded into manufacturing polystyrene meat trays and pizza lids and then diversified into proprietary stock packaging products, including plastic cups and lids.
In 1961 the company expanded to a 25,000 square foot manufacturing facility on East Cork Street in Kalamazoo.
In 2005 Fabri-Kal recognized the need to create plastic-like products from renewable sources. That’s when they created GREENWARE; a plastic made from annually renewable plants, not petroleum. Greenware is created from PLA; polymerized lactic acid from corn sugar. PLA is perfect for making biodegradable products such as cups, lids, and to-go boxes.
When COVID struck in early 2020 there was a surge in need for Personal Protective Equipment. While Greenware’s PLA is a fabulous product, it is not the best choice for every application. It’s too brittle to form plastic face shields. That didn’t stop Greenware from moving forward to find a way to manufacture face shields by the thousands.
Greenware under Fabri-Kal collaborated with Tekna and Schupan, who are experts in design & manufacturing of medical products to create a new product; face shields. They quickly decided on using Pete #4 Plastic which is flexible, clear and perhaps more importantly highly recyclable.
Since late January Greenware has sold out of the 4,000 face shields it produces daily!