Live Green and Earn Points


Greening A Manufacturing Plant

By Green Schools Program |
The Green Schools Coordinator at Brooklands Elementary School in Rochester Hills, MI, tells us about the first time she was inspired to encourage green actions in others:

Cars make a big impact on the road, but we can lessen the environmental impact cars make before they even hit the lots. For one person, learning that lesson was just the beginning of the great impact green behavior can have.
The Green Schools Coordinator at Brooklands Elementary School in Rochester Hills, MI, tells us about the first time she was inspired to encourage green actions in others.
WRITTEN BY: Green Schools Coordinator Renee Hotton

The first time I was inspired to encourage green actions in others was when I took a job as an Environmental Engineer at a manufacturing plant that molded, assembled, and painted fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) car body panels (for example, the doors and hood on the Chevrolet Corvette). At my first meeting with all the Environmental Engineers from the other plants, I quickly learned that the facility I was responsible for generated the largest amount of air, water, and solid waste pollution in the company! Needless to say, I was not going to be able to reduce the tons of waste by myself, so I needed to put together a plan to encourage everyone at the plant to participate in the management of the waste.

The first step of the waste management plan was to figure out where all the waste was coming from. From the scrap paper generated in the front office, to the waste water generated from the power washer used in the painting process, to the used oil that accumulated in large pits underneath the huge presses used to mold the parts, to the used gloves used by the workers for sanding the parts, it appeared that everyone had a part in generating the waste.

The second step was to train everyone to make them aware of the steps that they needed to take in their jobs to reduce the amount of waste they generated. For some areas, the waste itself could not be reduced, so I had to train them on how to go about treating the waste to make it less hazardous for disposal. Everyone had to be inspired to participate in making sure that the waste generated had less of an impact on the environment.

The third step in the waste management plan was to monitor the progress. A weekly visual graph showed everyone how their actions had a direct effect on the waste generated. They could quickly see at a glance that the numbers were decreasing and the waste was becoming less hazardous.

After one year, the amount of waste generated was reduced to a level that we no longer were the highest producer of waste among the corporation’s plants. In fact, we had such a substantial reduction in overall waste and successful reduction of hazardous waste that we were used as an outstanding example of how everyone working together could make a difference. It was truly inspiring to realize that we made not just an immediate difference in the effect that the plant was having on the environment, but we also made a long term commitment to reducing the effect of the plant on the environment for generations to come.

Have you made a change for the greener at work? Share your stories in the comments below!

Recyclebank Green Schools Program awards grants to schools in order to fund environmental projects that empower youth to green their own communities. For every 100 points donated to an accepted school, Recyclebank donates $10 to that school.

Under the guidance of Renee Hotton, Brooklands Elementary School students are developing a native Michigan Wildflower Garden with birdhouse habitats. These two projects are part of the school's quest to become a Michigan Green School.

Learn more about the Green Schools Program!

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • Elaine F. 5 years ago
    I try to recycle all the bottles that my coworkers throw out.
  • TAMMY S. 6 years ago
    Way to go Brooklands. Sounds like a great educational idea. Good Luck.
  • 7 years ago

    Es conforme, el mensaje muy bueno
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