With all the bag and PET bottle bans, it appears some believe plastics are sacking the environment. But one plastics company is working to make environmental stewardship a priority.
Toray Plastics (America), a manufacturer of polyester, polypropylene, and bio-based films for flexible and rigid packaging, has received the Environment Council of Rhode Island award due to its comprehensive sustainability initiatives, the company told PlasticsToday.
The Environment Council of Rhode Island's Senator John H. Chafee Conservation Leadership Awards are given in memory of the late governor and U.S. senator's dedication to preserving the environment.
Paul Urick, vp of production and safety for Toray Plastics, said Toray was the only business to be recognized this year by the council and received the highest honors.
"Toray Plastics has a legacy of corporate social responsibility, which encompasses sustainable business practices that include an extensive 'green' initiative," he said. "We are wholly committed to developing new technologies and quality products that help grow business and help make life better for all."
Toray's parent company, Toray Industries, received the United Nations Association of New York's (UNA-NY) 2008 Humanitarian Award for its efforts to address global climate change with technologies that support environmental sustainability.
Toray's comprehensive sustainability initiative was launched in 2004 and is guided by a six-point environmental mission: prioritize environmental preservation; help prevent global warming; achieve zero emissions of environmental pollutants; promote recycling; contribute to social well-being through environmental improvement technologies and products; and raise employees' environmental awareness.
For example, the company said it manufactures thin high-barrier packaging films that support source reduction and reduce transportation costs, as well as the development of bio-based films made from renewable resources.
"Toray Plastics continues to work on the development and use of bio-based resins, however, on a day-to-day basis, our emphasis is on reducing the raw materials utilized in the manufacture of our products and minimizing the energy/carbon footprint required to operate our Rhode Island site," Urick said.
Among Toray's environmental initiatives include the launch of a three-acre solar farm, the reduction by 41% of VOCs at its facility by the diverting of emission streams to a regenerative thermal oxidizer, and the diversion of 1,000 tons of non-hazardous waste from landfill and its shipment to a waste-to-energy plant.
In addition, the company said it recycles 285 tons of wood, 154 tons of mixed metal, 65 tons of cardboard, 60 tons of paper, bottles, and cans, 156 tons of aluminum, nine tons of used oil, six tons of oil absorbents, and 700 tons of PP and PET scrap, annually.
"Our commitment to sustainability is here to stay," Urick said. "We are constantly monitoring our progress and thinking of new ways to improve our operational and manufacturing processes and our environmental programs."