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October 25, 2001

Ryan Lauds Businesses for Achievements in Pollution Prevention

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today commended 17 companies for their achievements in reducing toxic air emissions and hazardous, solid and liquid wastes in presenting the 15th annual Governor's Pollution Prevention Awards.

"These businesses are leaders in their industries because of their ongoing commitment to the environment, their communities and their employees," Ryan said. "Many of them have sustained pollution prevention programs over a number of years, striving to find new ways to reduce waste and show how pollution prevention is good for business."

The Governor's Pollution Prevention Awards were presented in Springfield during a luncheon hosted by the Waste Management and Research Center (WMRC), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

"The exceptional accomplishments by these companies in reducing, reusing and recycling waste and improving air and water quality are enhancing our environment and conserving valuable natural resources," said IDNR Director Brent Manning.

The 17 companies receiving awards reported pollution prevention projects with combined annual savings of more than $11 million in material and disposal costs. The companies prevented nearly 70,000 tons of waste materials from being released into the environment and saved more than 34 million gallons of water from being sent to treatment facilities.

Award applicants were judged in statewide competition on innovative strategies and their uses of technology to prevent or reduce the volume and toxicity of waste. Judging criteria included technological innovation, environmental significance, economic benefits and commitment to pollution prevention. This year's awards were presented in Vendor/Supplier, Industry and Continuous Improvement categories. WMRC pollution prevention engineers reviewed the applications, while the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency determined company environmental compliance.

"In 15 years of competition, we have seen more and more businesses, vendors and suppliers achieving their pollution prevention goals, saving millions of dollars in pollution control, waste disposal, energy and raw material costs," said George Vander Velde, Director of the Waste Management and Research Center.

This year's awards program also included a presentation of the first Innovate Illinois award to a company that has developed and implemented a new technological innovation. The Innovate Illinois award is funded by the Illinois Conservation Foundation. This year's winner, Caterpillar Incorporated's Technical Services Division, Peoria, will receive a $1,000 scholarship to be donated directly to an accredited college or university in the company's name. The scholarship can be used for a specific student or for general use.

Caterpillar's Technical Services Division was presented the award for a number of innovations that improved the manufacturing process and helped the environment, including advances in welding technology and thermal spray that reduced hazardous waste, and creation of a new visual proving ground to test designs prior to building product prototypes, saving the $1 million cost for a single prototype.

Information on the Governor's Pollution Prevention Awards program and technical assistance on pollution prevention are available from the Waste Management and Research Center, One East Hazelwood Drive, Champaign, IL 61820, phone 217/333-8940, www.wmrc.uiuc.edu

2001 Governor's Pollution Prevention Award Winners

Vendor/Supplier Category

    Hardwood Line Manufacturing, Chicago, produces process equipment, tanks, plating barrels and rinsing equipment for the electroplating industry. The firm developed special equipment and systems for applying and removing plating chemicals, leading to increased production efficiency and reduced pollution.

Small Industry Category

    Able Electropolishing Co., Inc., Chicago, installed new systems that reduced water use by 66 percent and saved $68,000 last year; prevented the release of more than 28,000 pounds of waste material and saved $75,000 last year; generated one-third less sludge material in wastewater treatment processes; reduced raw materials used; increased recycling of cardboard and paper; and, made lighting more efficient. Able also doubled its workforce, increased its production lines and increased gross revenue.

    C.J. Saporito Plating Company, Cicero, a metal finishing company, reduced water usage by 50 percent, reduced energy use by 25 percent, and implemented new systems allowing reuse of 98 percent of its metals while decreasing air and water pollution emissions.

    Isotech Laboratories, Inc., Champaign, specializes in isotopic analysis of gases, water and organic solids and liquids. It significantly reduced costs by developing a reusable metal tube for shipping samples of mud gas analyzed for the oil industry. The system reduced waste by 94 percent, waste volume by 11,000 pounds, and resulted in reduced shipping costs.

    Swenson Spreader Co., Lindenwood, manufactures snow and ice control equipment. The company improved its powder coating program, reducing emissions by 30 tons, while saving 45,000 gallons of water and $1,500 in utility costs. They also saved $30,000 in transportation and other costs for wastewater hauling, eliminated a hazardous waste stream in parts washing, recycled fluorescent lamps, reduced other emissions and recycled more than 19 tons of paper and cardboard.

Medium Industry Category

    Kester Solder Co., Des Plaines, developed a four-step filtration system to eliminate industrial wastewater and reused recycled water in chemical products. The system resulted in reduced water usage, sewer fees and solid waste disposal costs.

Large Industry Category

    Midwest Generation EME, LLC, -headquartered in Chicago - owns and operates 12 fossil-fuel fired electric generating facilities in Illinois. The firm installed low nitrogen oxide burners and over fire technology, resulting in the reduction of NOx emissions at eight coal-fired plants. The first three installations reduced emissions by 9,000 tons. The company estimates the technology investment will result in capital cost savings of $600 million compared with other emissions controls, with additional savings in operations, maintenance, energy and disposal costs.

Continuous Improvement Category

    Abbott Laboratories, Inc., North Chicago, instituted four pollution prevention projects in 2000. They include new equipment eliminating the use of hazardous materials in purifying equipment, eliminating 6,000 liters of hazardous waste; a new technology that recovers tritium used in development of new pharmaceuticals, resulting in annual savings of $1.6 million; development of an unbreakable container for oral anesthetics, saving $200,000 annually; and, native plant species were planted on Abbott Park grounds, improving storm water runoff water quality and improving wildlife habitat.

    American NTN Bearing Manufacturing, Inc., Elgin, manufactures precision bearings and components. It targeted a number of waste streams, including: reducing grease use by 50 to 75 percent; replacing a solvent cleaning process with a mechanical washing system with annual savings of $120,000 and a reduction of 3.4 tons of emissions; reducing solid waste disposal at projected annual cost savings of $86,000; and, using a new returnable packaging design to reduce cardboard, plastic wrap and wood pallet use with projected savings of more than $100,000 over five years.

    Caterpillar, Inc., Mapleton, an iron foundry casting engine blocks and engine heads, installed a new core-making complex, increasing production by 160 percent. The new machinery uses fewer resins and sand, resulting in lower air emissions and waste disposal at an annual savings of $2.7 million.

    Caterpillar, Inc., Peoria, through its Technical Services Division, developed three pollution prevention projects. Advanced welding technology reduced fume emissions and slag waste at a savings of 350,000 to 1,250,000 pounds of waste and $24,000 annually. A thermal spray process replaced chrome plating, eliminating wastewater and reclaiming waste product at an annual savings of $374,680. A new virtual proving ground system saved on development of prototype tractors and crawlers, which Caterpillar estimates saves $1 million on the cost of developing, building and testing one prototype.

    Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), Chicago, has implemented a number of programs in its service area for utility customers. The projects include support of community energy cooperatives, enabling customers to control energy use and cost; a Chicago Public Schools partnership on alternative energy source education; solar electric system installation at Chicago museums; and, development of wind and photovoltaic generation programs. The energy systems that have been installed will save an estimated 25 million pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the air over the next five years.

    Homeshield, Chatsworth, a metal fabrication company, reduced temperatures in its afterburner to reduce natural gas use; replaced fluorescent lamps; reduced metal scrap waste; removed primer from its aluminum screen frame painting process; and, began use of returnable packages for thermo-window space shipments. The firm estimates annual savings of $235,000 and a reduction of 215,000 pounds of discarded metal and cardboard.

    International Truck and Engine Corp., Melrose Park, has not generated any hazardous waste for three years. Its waste elimination efforts include replacing cleaning units with self-distilling parts cleaning units, saving $63,500 annually. It also reduced use of a chemical compound by 53 percent and reduced its use of city water by 30 million gallons during the last three years.

    National Manufacturing, Inc., Sterling and Rock Falls, a merchandiser of home and builder hardware, replaced two nickel-brass plating lines, eliminating the use of 3,250 pounds of nitric acid annually, the dumping of 7,800 gallons of alkaline cleaner, and more than 13,000 gallons of other cleaners and acids. The move reduced chemical use by $40,000 and saved $104,000 in annual labor cost, while a reduction in process time saved $147,000 annually. The firm also improved its electroplating finishing system, eliminating use of 405 gallons of solvent and an annual reduction of 1.5 tons of volatile organic compound emissions.

    Norcross Safety Products, LLC, Rock Island, used 100 percent recyclable parts washer fluids to reduce waste flow; implemented a used waste oil recycling program; reduced rejected parts sent to the landfill, recycled rejected rubber parts for use in making other products; and, implemented the manufacture of odd rubber boots to match other odd boots to produce usable pairs of boots. The efforts resulted in annual savings of $336,000.

    Noveon, Inc. (PMD Group), Henry, provides chemical additives for the rubber, plastic and lubricant markets. The firm used an improved filtration media to reduce waste by 66,000 pounds per year, saving $107,000. The company also began use of a new technology for catching rubber fines for recycling at a cost savings of $184,500, with additional savings in reduced waste treatment, energy and solid waste costs.


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