PIQUA — Industry Products Company of Piqua recently received an Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) award from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“They’re proud of it,” Tom Wyen, compliance coordinator at Industry Products Company, said. Environmental excellence has been an initiative that Industry Products Company has been working on since the 1960s, Wyen said.
The E3 program recognizes businesses, non-profits, and government agencies in Ohio for going above and beyond to demonstrate environmental excellence.
The E3 program provides three recognition levels: Achievement, Silver and Gold. Silver recipients demonstrate a commitment to exceed regulatory compliance obligations and have exceptional achievements in environmental stewardship. Gold recipients exceed regulatory compliance obligations and commit to long-term achievements in environmental stewardship.
Industry Products Company was one of six organizations recognized for both E3 Silver and Gold this year.
“We’ve been recycling and watching energy … for many, many years,” Wyen said.
Prior to receiving the Achievement E3 award from the Ohio EPA last year, Industry Products Company received ISO 14001 certification in 1999 and was recertified for it this year, a certification that Wyen described as the standard for environmental stewardship.
“We’re recycling 70 percent of our waste,” Wyen said. According to Wyen, Industry Products Company is able to incorporate some of its recycled materials into new products.
“We can take (up to) 50 percent and make new products and use it again,” Wyen said about their polyethylene waste.
Industry Products Company also rewired buildings and replaced halogen lights, reducing their energy usage by 36 percent.
“We’re also looking at LEDs in the future because that could even save more,” Wyen said.
Industry Products Company also monitored carbon emissions in their propane lift trucks. Wyen explained that, on average, propane lift trucks emit about 5 percent carbon dioxide. Industry Products Company got theirs down to less than 1 percent.
“We estimated we reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 122 tons,” Wyen said. That was between 2012-2013.
They are also looking more into electric lift trucks versus propane lift trucks. They currently have two new electric lift trucks that generate 49 metric tons less carbon dioxide than two propane lift trucks, Wyen said. Wyen added that the operating cost of an electric lift truck is less than that of a propane lift truck as well.
Industry Products Company is leaving no stone unturned in their goal of recycling as well as reducing energy usage and costs. Wyen explained that the employees also recycle their own cans, bottles, and batteries, which adds another 4 percent to how much Industry Products Company is recycling. The company is repurposing whatever they can, including wood skids. They also capture the energy that comes off of air compressors and use it for heat during the winter, Wyen said.
“If it wasn’t for the employees’ initiatives … a lot of this stuff would never be done,” Wyen said. “Employees, management, associates are who are really making the difference.”
Wyen went on to say that it is through the employees’ suggestions that the goal of environmental excellence is able to come to fruition. Wyen credited employees Sue Davidson, Jim Kinniger, Jeff Montgomery in particular.
“A lot of the goals couldn’t be reached,” Wyen said. “A lot of the things couldn’t be done.”
Wyen explained that there is also a significant cost-savings element that comes with recycling product waste and using less energy.
“It saves money and it pays to recycle and watch what you’re doing,” Wyen said. For example, when they recycled 112 tons in April 2014, they were able to save approximately $1,800 by recycling other product waste instead of paying to take it to the dump.
“It’s well worth doing,” Wyen said. “I think most companies would be surprised by what they’re doing.”
Wyen added, “It’s not because of fines … if you can recycle and you don’t have to put it in the dump, that’s a lot of money you can save.”
Wyen also thanked Howard Dong and Bill Narotski of the Ohio EPA for working with and helping Industry Products Company earn these E3 awards.