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AEF recognizes Arkansas industries for pollution prevention.

When Stan Jorgensen took over as president of the Arkansas Environmental Federation in October last year, he had a few ideas in mind. Recognizing Arkansas industries for waste minimization/pollution prevention efforts topped the list.

"Numerous Arkansas industries have made significant strides during the past five years to reduce waste and pollution," Jorgensen says. The awards which are given throughout the year at various functions are designed to recognize the achievements of these industries.

Jorgensen spent a total of 14 years as an environmental regulator for the EPA and for the state of Missouri before joining Environmental Systems Co. as director of regulatory affairs in 1987. His experience as both a regulator and industry representative gives him a unique perspective on environmental issues.

Waste minimization/pollution prevention is a trend that will continue to grow among the manufacturing sector, according to Jorgensen. "I believe that we're making such huge strides through cooperation, information-sharing, and voluntary efforts that regulatory requirements will not be necessary."

Reducing Air Emissions

Smith Fiberglass Products, Inc., in Little Rock, a leading supplier of fiberglass reinforced piping systems, won the air emissions category of competition. The company manufactures pipe, fittings, tubing, casing and conduit, and markets fiberglass dispenser sumps and tank sumps for the service station industry. In the past five years, Smith Fiberglass has achieved an estimated 95 percent reduction in total VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions, an estimated 93 percent reduction in total 1,1,1-trichloroethane emissions and an estimated 74 percent reduction in methylene chloride emissions from its Little Rock facility.

Solid/Hazardous Waste Prevention

Baxter Healthcare Corp. of Mountain Home won the hazardous waste category, while Whirlpool Corp. in Fort Smith won for solid waste. Baxter Healthcare manufactures disposable medical products. The Mountain Home facility has reduced the amount of hazardous waste generated from 446,918 pounds in 1989 to 47,586 pounds in 1993, recycling 94 percent of the amount generated. During this same period of time, production increased by 35 percent.

Whirlpool Corp. manufactures side-by-side refrigerators under several brand names. The company has implemented a multi-dimensional strategy to reduce solid waste generation that focuses on: process conversions to decrease solid waste, implementing packaging programs, and implementing recycling programs. Solid waste at Whirlpool has been reduced by 12,338,214 pounds per year since 1988. That's a 69.1 percent reduction in overall solid waste generation over a five-year period.

Pollutants Decreased in Water Discharges

Arkansas Eastman Division of Eastman Chemical Co. in Batesville won the water discharges category. Arkansas Eastman supplies specialty organic chemical intermediates used in the manufacture of color film and photographic paper, paints and coatings, plastics and bottle polymers, medical supplies, prescription medicines, food supplements, household detergents, and agricultural products. In 1990, Arkansas Eastman initiated an extensive waste minimization program. Since the program began, the company has reduced the flow and waste load to its wastewater treatment plant by 30 percent while increasing plant production by more than 25 percent.

Efforts Recognized

Four companies -- one from each congressional district in the state -- competed for an "overall" award for waste minimization/pollution prevention. Companies had to demonstrate how they had minimized or prevented pollution in all areas including air, hazardous waste, solid waste, and water.

In the first congressional district, which covers Northeast Arkansas, Arkansas Eastman again took the honors. In addition to its achievements in wastewater, the company has reduced its toxic air emissions by 79 percent since 1987.

As for solid waste, the company recycled more than 755,000 pounds in 1993. They also recycle the nearly 20 million pounds of solvents used each year and approximately 1 million pounds of waste solvent generated at the plant are now being recycled and reused as a raw material at another plant.

In the second congressional district, Virco Manufacturing in Conway was the winner. Virco makes commercial and educational furniture. The company's accomplishments include reducing the emission of VOCs from 354 tons a year in 1991 to only 77 tons a year in 1994. They accomplished this by converting from a wet paint system to a powder coat system. In addition to reducing VOCs, this eliminated more than 100,000 pounds of paint sludge and 10,000 pounds of solvents per year. The company also is recycling cardboard, mixed office paper, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, hydraulic oil, three types of plastic, electroplating hazardous waste, foam rubber, tires, batteries, water, wood scraps and sawdust.

In the third congressional district or Northwest Arkansas, Whirlpool Corp. of Fort Smith was the winner. Since 1988, the company has reduced its air emissions by 82 percent, its hazardous waste by 80 percent, its solid waste by 69 percent, and its industrial water use by 82 percent. In addition, Whirlpool is producing refrigerators that are CFC-free (chlorofluorocarbon) and 30 percent more energy efficient than the 1993 standards issued by the U.S. Department of Energy. Whirlpool's Super Efficient Refrigerator Program (a.k.a. S.E.R.P.) has estimated that the units will save consumers at least $75 million in electric bills over the next two decades, and reduce pollution that would have been created in the production of extra electric power.

In the fourth congressional district of Southwest Arkansas, the Cooper Tire Company in Texarkana, which makes light truck and automobile tires, took the honors. Since 1988, the company has made many strides in waste minimization/pollution prevention, including the following: reduced the annual tonnage of solid waste generated by more than 34 percent; reduced annual tonnage of solid waste landfilled by more than 40 percent; eliminated over 30 percent of unnecessary raw material packaging by convincing suppliers to convert to returnable containers, reusable packaging, or bulk packaging; established outlets for recycling 100 percent of company generated scrap tires since 1990; donated 653 tons of scrap lumber and pallets to various organizations, thus diverting this from landfills. The company has also participated in the creation and funding of the Scrap Tire Management Council, an independent group with the goal of developing and promoting markets for the reuse, recycling and recovery of annual tire takeoffs and in the promotion of state and national laws for the environmentally safe management of scrap tires.

For more information about the awards program or these companies, please call the Arkansas Environmental Federation at 501/374-0263.

Amy L. Wilson is communication/education coordinator for the Arkansas Environmental Federation.
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Title Annotation:Special Supplement; Arkansas Environmental Federation
Author:Wilson, Amy
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Oct 24, 1994
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