Ronald Knepp: IRC Recycling Rock Star
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
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When Ronald Knepp drives home from work, it isn’t long before he passes by the landfill in Wakarusa. Even though the landfill is only a few miles away from his job, Knepp is determined to keep his company’s waste far away from it.
“When you drive by it’s shocking because it could be full in a few years,” says Knepp. But thanks to his diligent leadership, the landfill will be seeing fewer and fewer materials from his job, Clayton Homes – Wakarusa. In time, the company plans to reach zero landfill waste.
“We are the land of plenty, but we seem to waste a lot too,” says Knepp. But through his work, he actively fights to change that.
Knepp served as the ISO Coordinator at Clayton Homes. At the conclusion of 2019, the company celebrated an 82% diversion rate of waste kept away from landfills, which amounted to 2,400 tons. Most of the materials are recycled, but many other materials are re-purposed back into the economy. Wood is transported to a local company to make sawdust, and other building materials are donated.
In 2015, Knepp navigated his coworkers at Clayton Homes through the implementation of the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. This system establishes goals for measuring a company’s environmental impact.
Clayton Homes operates in four buildings, and Wakarusa has about 350 employees. Knepp never doubted that it would take everybody’s efforts to achieve their goals. Through educating and coaching, it did not take long before there was wide-spread buy-in from the team members. Knepp takes pride in how the program brings people together and helps them achieve positive goals.
“The new ISO program involves everyone. No matter their position, people want to do better, they want to improve,” he says. Whether it is through their simple color-coded system for collecting waste, or using one of the company’s cardboard compactors, employees witness firsthand the process and rewards of recycling.
Now Knepp works as a Quality Assurance Manager at Clayton Homes, and he continues to utilize the lessons he learned during his time as ISO Coordinator. Most of all, he wants everyone he meets to know how easy it can be to start living sustainably.
By implementing the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System at Clayton Wakarusa, Ronald Knepp successfully increased recycling, reduced landfill rates, and reused materials throughout the facility and community while training hundreds of employees in proper environmental management.
Written by Holland Cluff