In Pursuit of the Zero Footprint at New Smyrna Beach, Florida
For the past five years, Momentive’s New Smyrna Beach, Florida, acrylic sealant plant has been a hotbed of sustainability-oriented activity. Under the leadership of John Noell, a site-wide, team-based initiative has implemented 10 different plans to address the plant’s operational, environmental and social impacts. Projects have covered everything from increasing product safety and reducing the risk of employee exposures, to toxic emissions, waste minimization, regulatory compliance management and utility demand—no stone has been left unturned.
Noell’s vision? Try to make the greenest plant possible—a zero footprint.
No room at the inn
It all started because there wasn’t enough warehouse space. Three acrylic sealant product platforms designed by three different sources meant having to store 180 different chemical ingredients. A goal was set to reformulate the products and shave this raw material inventory down to 100. When the 2009 CARB (California Air Resources Board) regulations came out requiring products with very low to no VOCs, the plant’s redesign efforts expanded to include lowering hazard levels of all kinds.
With the expert help of Gabriele Machel, site R&D/QA leader, the lean redesign project systematically analyzed each chemical’s performance contributions while reviewing the chemical’s hazard and risk profiles.
A remarkable achievement
Here are some of the highlights of the New Smyrna Beach team’s efforts:
The buck stops hereTo Noell, the freedom to operate without having to worry about hazardous output all the time is key. So what’s next? Right now, his plant recycles a third of the water used by its vacuum pumps. In the future, he would like to recycle all of it.