Spotlight on Badger Supplier: Independent Can Company

We all admire and enjoy Badger’s colorful balm tins. But did you know that since 2009 the Independent Can Company (ICC), a family owned and operated business located in the U.S., has been manufacturing them for us out of recycled steel? This amounts to 4,394,708 Badger balm tins, which is a lot of recycled and recyclable tins in six years!

Left: Independent Can Company circa 1929. Right: ICC plant in Vandalia, OH 2014.
Left: Independent Can Company circa 1929. Right: ICC plant in Vandalia, OH 2014.

Made in the USA — not just a slogan.

Founded in 1929, ICC is a leader in the manufacturing of specialty metal packaging and metal lithography, with facilities located in Belcamp, MD; Conneaut, OH; Fort Madison, IA; and Vandalia, OH (which just opened in July 2014).

Every tin manufactured by ICC is made from 25% – 60% recycled steel. This fact, combined with ICC’s commitment to a clean, environmentally conscious operation, is one of the many reasons why we at Badger love working with them.

All ICC facilities are equipped with energy-efficient heating, cooling, and motion-activated lighting, and the company’s Fort Madison location uses geothermal heating. They’ve even gone so far as to install energy saving coater ovens (the most in the world), achieve vibrant images using less ink, and utilize ultraviolet curing to save energy. These thermal ovens and thermal oxidizers are at least 20% more energy efficient.

In addition, ICC strives for consistent improvements in their annual recycling totals for steel, plastic, aluminum, corrugated, mixed paper, and energy efficiency.

Photo courtesy of ICC.
Photo courtesy of ICC.

It’s in the Can. Really!

Packaging made from tin-plated steel embodies the definition of sustainability in a way that no other package can claim. Beautiful and reusable, tins are often collected, refilled, or displayed. Many of you Badger fans are already aware of this fact; having discovered many uses for Badger tins long after the balm inside has disappeared.

Photo courtesy of Badger fan Rebecca, a Certified Professional Horticulturist, “Being a life-long gardener, I have found them indispensable for seed saving. They keep the seeds protected from light and moisture, and if stored in a cool, dry non-freezing location as I do, have kept my seeds viable for several years.”
Photo courtesy of Badger fan Rebecca, a Certified Professional Horticulturist, “Being a life-long gardener, I have found them indispensable for seed saving. They keep the seeds protected from light and moisture, and if stored in a cool, dry non-freezing location as I do, have kept my seeds viable for several years.”

If a tin can ever does make it to a landfill, it can be separated by a magnet and is biodegradable. The life cycle of a steel package is infinite and without loss of quality. According to the Steel Recycling Institute, the recycling rate for steel in 2012 was 88 percent. This use of recycled steel to make new steel conserves energy, reduces emissions, and conserves natural resources.

Life Cycle of Planet-Friendly Steel

  • Scrap steel is bundled and taken to a recycling center.
  • Next, it’s melted down and the impurities are burned off.
  • If the steel is destined to become a can again instead of one of the many other uses for steel, molten steel is poured and rolled into a thin sheet.
  • It’s then coated with tin to retard rust and rolled into a coil.
  • The coil is cut into sheets of steel and the process of can making begins again.

Metal Life Cycle

Here are a few impressive and fun facts about recycled steel, which you can causally drop into polite conversation and sound wicked smart:
Metal Recycles Forever

  • Each year, more steel is recycled than glass, paper, aluminum and plastic combined.
  • Steel can be infinitely recycled without loss of strength or durability.
  • Recycling steel uses 60% less energy than making new.
  • Every 2,000 lbs. of recycled steel saves 2,500 lbs. of iron ore, 1400 lbs. of coal and 120 lbs. of limestone
  • Recycling steel saves the equivalent energy to power about 18 million households for a year
  • The North American steel industry has achieved a 90% reduction in the discharge of air and water emissions versus 10 years ago

For suggestions on how to reuse your Badger tins, visit the “Other Uses for Badger” section on our website! Or, drop us a line about how you reuse your tins in the comments below!

5 comments on “Spotlight on Badger Supplier: Independent Can Company

  • I enjoyed reading about Badger Balm tins. I’ll be checking out the “Other Uses for Badger” section to get ideas for using my empties. I hope, in honor of this blog post, that you will consider making more lip balm flavors available in tins — I like the tins better than tubes!

    Reply
    • Badger Balm

      Thanks, Carol!

      I am passing your suggestion along – in the meantime remember that most of our balms in tins can be used anywhere, even lips! Baby Balm in the .75oz tin is my personal favorite. 🙂

      Jentri

      Reply
  • Mark Fernandes says:

    I am a supporter of using recycled items and Badger Supplier is using the recycled steel for their tins which is praiseworthy.

    Reply

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