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Greening of an Industry: Sustainability initiative saves big at Toray Plastics

Annual savings of 17 million gallons of water, 8.5 million kW hours of electricity, and 10.1 billion BTUs: that, says flexible plastics packaging processor Toray Plastics (America) Inc. (North Kingstown, RI), is the harvest it is reaping from the projects it launched in 2004 to improve its environmental profile and, not coincidentally, its operations.

Annual savings of 17 million gallons of water, 8.5 million kW hours of electricity, and 10.1 billion BTUs: that, says flexible plastics packaging processor Toray Plastics (America) Inc. (North Kingstown, RI), is the harvest it is reaping from the projects it launched in 2004 to improve its environmental profile and, not coincidentally, its operations.



A self-financed sustainability program is paying of in a big way at Toray Plastics’ Rhode Island facility.


Those savings come from a variety of operational initiatives that include zero landfill non-hazardous waste utilization, waste reduction, water conservation and wastewater recycling, best management practices for storm water, condensate heat recovery, HVAC and furnace energy efficiencies, chiller upgrades, lighting improvements, and reverse osmosis technology.

For example, its Zero Landfill Waste program now diverts the company’s non-hazardous waste (general trash and solids from an ethylene glycol distillation column) from a landfill to a waste-to-energy plant instead, where it is burned and converted into electricity. In the processor’s onsite wastewater-pretreatment plant, effluent is reused as cooling tower-water makeup-water, which it says saves 9 million gallons of potable water annually. Even simple steps such as switching from fluorescent lamps to high- efficiency lamps with motion detectors that have been installed throughout the plants, automatically shutting off lighting when no one is present, are paying dividends.

In answer to an MPW query, firm officials report the Toray sustainability programs have all been implemented at the company's expense; no state or federal funding was used. [email protected]
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