The experience of Washington County-based Advanced Screenprinting, demonstrates how to save money by reducing hazardous waste. In 1996, the company ended its service contract for a parts washer using petroleum naptha. Purchasing its own $300 parts washer and mineral spirits, the company dramatically extended the life of the solvent. Instead of generating 35 gallons of spent solvent per year, the new system reduced that amount taken to the county VSQG collection site to a mere 6 gallons every 3 years (only 2 gallons generated per year). Since 1996, the screen-printing business has saved almost $1400 per year.
Author: Washington County
Design for the Environment (DfE)
DfE concepts consider potential environmental impacts of a product throughout its life. By integrating environmental considerations into the product design, a company can increase resource efficiency and reduce costs of development, manufacture and use. To learn how companies are applying DfE concepts, visit the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency web site to view a series of case studies.
ISO 14001 proved successful for ATMI's Minneapolis manufacturing facility making chemical container systems. The product is nearly 100 percent reusable or recyclable. Believing that a common, efficient system for managing risk and reducing waste across the entire company was needed, ATMI corporate headquarters began implementing ISO 14001-an internationally recognized environmental management system (EMS)-in its nine U.S. facilities.
Many factors were key to the success of ATMI Packaging's EMS including a sound knowledge of environmental regulations affecting the company and clear communication of environmental policies and procedures to all employees. As a result of its EMS and the efforts of the ISO 14001 core team, this ATMI facility reduced the amount of waste sent to landfills by 78 tons in 2001, saving $30,000.
Using the Minnesota Materials Exchange allowed Superior Third Party Logistics in St. Paul to stretch its budget by receiving free packaging materials. The company needs a consistent supply of quality packaging materials to operate its warehouse and shipping business. Having used the Materials Exchange previously, the company's operations manager thought the program could save the company money by finding good, usable items - and it did. EI Microcircuits in Mankato was looking for a recipient for its used bubble wrap and packing peanuts. The Materials Exchange matched the two businesses, and the warehouse now receives 720cubic feet of materials from EI Microcircuits every two months. Reusing the materials saves Superior about $5,000 a year in purchase costs.
To better reflect its customers' environmental values, Wilderness Inquiry decided to reduce paper usage. As a non-profit providing wilderness trips, the Minneapolis-based organization also wanted to increase the effectiveness of its marketing efforts without increasing costs. Through technology enhancements and web-site development, it achieved a 22% paper reduction over the past two years in paper communications, forms and marketing materials--along with about $700 in annual savings on copying costs. Postage costs were correspondingly reduced. Most notable are the reductions in staff time and enhanced quality of customer communications and data management. The improved perception by customers as being environmentally friendly continues to drive efforts to expand its web-based activity.
Health East Midway Outpatient Center in St. Paul changed its approach to suctioning body fluids in surgery. The center had been using three to five suction canisters per surgery case for containing fluids removed during procedures. After each procedure, the contents of the canisters were disposed of as infectious waste and the canisters were thrown away.
Changing to a canister-free vacuum system brought advantages. Employee safety was a big benefit: staff no longer needs to dump the canisters, which were heavy and posed a splashing danger. According to operating room supervisor Michelle Draxton, the canister-free vacuum system has cut the amount of solid waste at the facility. Over time there will definitely be a savings.
Virtually eliminating mercury from its facilities was the best way for Park Nicollet Health Services to avoid employee, patient and environmental exposure to this neurotoxin. Avoiding exposure to mercury helps Park Nicollet further its mission to support health and healing.
To accomplish mercury elimination by 2005, Park Nicollet educated employees about mercury hazards and using alternative, mercury-free products. On track for 2005, it has eliminated 75 percent of the mercury from its facilities.
Additional Case Studies
- Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) (Search: Case Studies)