Make a Difference

Greg Kozera

A few years ago, pre-pandemic I took a carload of newspapers and cardboard to our local recycle center. People were dropping off plastic household waste. I didn’t realize they were collecting it. Since China wasn’t taking it anymore I was curious what they were doing with it. I approached the man working there and asked, “Where does that plastic waste go?” He came up to me. Shifted his chew and said, “Do you really want to know?” He looked all around and then whispered, “No one wants it. It all goes to the landfill.” People were washing their plastic waste. Separating it. Storing it. Taking it to the recycle center. Feeling good about what they were doing and unknown to them, it all went to the landfill with the rest of their trash.

Maybe that’s why I got so excited about what Don Thompson, an engineer and the CEO of CRDC was doing. In 2018 we met at a plastics conference in Chicago. Don had a unique process in Costa Rica turning plastic waste they collected off their beaches into an additive for concrete blocks making them stronger and lighter. They were using Don’s blocks to build houses. What excited me is it wasn’t theory. IT WORKED. I encouraged him to come to the USA with his process. My goal was to bring him to the Shale Crescent USA.

Don still had work to do in order to make the process commercial. The biggest challenge was the large amount of feedstock (plastic waste) he would need every day. He couldn’t depend on the public for a guaranteed supply. Don was looking at South Africa and Europe. He partnered with a large U.S. company who could guarantee a dependable supply of commercial plastic waste for his feed stock. In August 2019 Lynnda and I visited CRDC’s U.S. pilot project in New Jersey. We were thrilled. CRDC chose York, PA in the Shale Crescent region for USA01because of its proximity to large amounts of commercial plastic waste and the community’s support for recycling. The pandemic slowed things down. Earlier this year, their Costa Rican facility started commercial operations.

On October 21st. York went into commercial operation turning up to 2 tons of plastic waste per hour into CRDC’s Resin 8 material for use in concrete and asphalt. Local people pick up CRDC’s green plastic bags for free and return them with all 7 grades of plastic unsorted and unwashed. CRDC’s process removes glass and any metal. Since October 21st they have already taken over 100 tons of plastic waste out of the environment. People around the world require plastics for healthcare, food protection and transport along with thousands of other products. Automobiles use plastic to lighten vehicles making them more fuel efficient. Electric cars couldn’t exist without plastic. Over 70% of an EV is plastic. Don Thompson and his CRDC Team is making a difference. What most people consider waste he sees as “feedstock”. The biggest problem is collecting it.

The Shale Crescent USA Team is making a difference by bringing companies like Don’s and others to our region creating good career jobs. The most recent SCUSA study shows how manufacturing in the USA instead of China lowers global emissions, especially if the products are sold in the USA. We are encouraging Don to build U.S. facility 02 in Ohio or West Virginia.

It isn’t necessary to make a major contribution like Don, in order to change the world. Many people today are hurting. They may be stressed because inflation and high fuel prices make it difficult for them to feed and house a family. Some have health issues. Others may be lonely or just need a friend to talk to. Much of what people read, see on TV or the internet is depressing.

Young people can be starved for attention. Their parents may be working longer hours to make ends meet. Bradley my neighbor’s grandson stopped over after school today. He is 10. We just got home from shopping and dentist appointments. I had business to take care of and then prepare for high school soccer practice. This was our last practice before the State Soccer Tournament in Beckley tomorrow. Bradley wanted to catch football. I couldn’t turn him down. He always puts a smile on my face. He can catch and throw pretty well now. We played for 15 minutes. It was fun and probably what we both needed.

For Halloween this year, Lynnda and I had our most trick or treaters ever. Bradley was the boy in the ET movie who transported ET in the basket of his bicycle. It was a creative costume. Parents dressed up to take their children around, making a difference and a memory with them. We had a number of high school students with very creative costumes. It was fun passing out candy. There are a lot of ways to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

We can do a lot without spending money. We all have our own unique talents to share. Have you discovered yours? Sometimes others can see our talents and abilities we overlook. Ask a trusted friend. We all have 24 hours in a day. It is what we do with our 24 hours that makes a difference in the lives of others. Simple tasks like holding a door open for someone. A friendly smile with a “Hello” or “Good morning” can change someone’s attitude. A sincere “I like what you did with your hair.” “I like your shirt.” a phone call, or any encouraging word of praise can uplift someone.

We may not be able to change the world like Don Thompson and CRDC. If we can, we should. We may have talent the world needs. Don’t ever put yourself down. We can ALL change someone’s world for the better and make a positive difference. Use your time wisely.

Greg Kozera, [email protected] is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. (You can follow SCUSA on Facebook) He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.

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