Cormetech wins state environmental honors
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
May 18, 2014 | 1007 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Cormetech Inc.’s Cleveland manufacturing facility has been named the recipient of the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards for Excellence in Materials Management.

“I’m thrilled that Cormetech is being recognized for our efforts in environmental stewardship,” Denise Rice, director of Cleveland operations and development, said.

“This is really a great next step after last year. We were recognized by the Chattanooga regional manufactures association.”

Winners will be officially recognized during a ceremony on June 23 in Nashville.

“Recognizing these innovative efforts that help conserve and protect our natural resources is important in keeping our communities strong and economically viable. I am proud to work alongside each and every one of the winners,” Gov. Bill Haslam said in a press release.

Cormetech’s environmental efforts to decrease and reuse waste generated in the manufacturing process began in 2009.

Rice said the efforts started as a team project to reduce waste at the facility by 15 percent. The team exceeded its goal by reducing waste by more than 50 percent. This began the implementation of other ideas to reduces waste and improve recycling.

These efforts now include: “catalyst waste reduction, hazardous waste stream elimination, module paint elimination, and recovery and reuse of excess liquid solutions,” according to the state award press release.

“I think the most notable was reclaiming 27 tons of waste back into our manufacturing process,” Rice said.

This practice eliminates waste from the landfill, while also reducing costs for the company.

“Recovery and rework of this material will result in roughly $100,000 annual savings in raw materials. The total number of hazardous waste streams was reduced from seven to two,” according to the press release.

Educating employees of the importance of the environmental efforts has been a key to their success. Rice said some reduce and reuse practices at the plant have come from employees. Others have come from touring other Bradley County facilities and seeing how they reduce waste.

Data was also collected to determine ways the facility could reduce and eliminate waste. Eliminating paint in the manufacturing process and using labels instead reduced waste from aerosol cans.

A company-wide recycling program also gives employees the opportunity to bring recyclables from home. Rice said funds from the recycling are used for projects in the community.

The plant’s environmental efforts reach beyond its doors into the community through its partnership with Cleveland High School.

Rice said the company purchased recycling bins, gloves and cleaning supplies for the school.

“It's important that we recognize the people and organizations that work so hard to protect our environment, while also teaching others about sustainability,” Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau said in a press release. “The better we take care of our environment, the better our quality of life, which directly impacts how Tennesseans live, work and play.”

According to a Tennessee government press release, the awards recognize “exceptional voluntary actions that improve or protect our environment and natural resources with projects or initiatives not required by law or regulation.”