Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Guest Post - Encouraging Manufacturers to Help Preserve the Environment

We count on our manufacturing companies for everything from the windows in our homes to the bricks and steel supporting our cities’ tallest skyscrapers. The finished products these companies create are often beautiful and needed, but the environmental impact of the manufacturing isn’t always as pretty.

It is no secret that the manufacturing sector can produce a lot of waste. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2013 alone, manufacturing processes created close to 8 billion tons of nonhazardous waste. Even worse, a vast majority of that waste ended up in landfills.

It begs the question “is there a way to reduce all this waste?” Thankfully, the answer is a resounding yes. You could even say it’s a classic case of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure. Unfortunately many companies overlook these recycling opportunities favoring the cost efficiency of trashing the extras, but there would be endless benefits if large manufacturers committed to creating and following simple recycling programs.

Thankfully, there are a few companies that are spearheading these efforts and just from their modest work to reduce the amount of trash they produce, we can already see the improvements.

Encouraging Manufacturers to Help Preserve the Environment
In the spirit of Earth Week, April 20-24, 2015, and recognizing those companies that are dedicated to environmental causes, it’s worth talking about Thompson Creek Window Company, a Maryland-based window manufacturing company. They have committed themselves to being green and making a concerted effort to minimize their carbon footprint by recycling the excess raw materials that are created when making windows.

For example, and unsurprisingly, glass is a common excess material for a window company. Thanks to their recycling program, Thompson Creek diverts over 412 tons of glass from the landfill each year. These 100% recyclable leftovers are used to create other glass products, for further consumption.

Encouraging Manufacturers to Help Preserve the Environment
Additionally, 84.42 tons of vinyl are recycled by Thompson Creek every year. The recycled vinyl can be reused in packaging, traffic cones, siding, floor tiles, and more. The company also diverted 38.73 tons of cardboard and 14.87 tons of aluminum from the landfills.

All in all, we’re talking about over 550 total tons of recyclable materials diverted from the landfill every single year. Thompson Creek holds strong to their commitment to minimize their carbon footprint and they are among a growing list of companies committing themselves to reaching “zero-landfill” status.

Encouraging Manufacturers to Help Preserve the Environment

Imagine if larger manufacturers made the same commitment. The impact would be colossal. I think we can all agree it’s a pledge we’d like to see more companies make, both large and small.