The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic region welcomed two new members into its Sustainability Partnership Program in two signing ceremonies held today.
EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin joined Secretary Randy Huffman of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection in recognizing Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, Inc. at its Buffalo, W. Va., facility, and Dow West Virginia at its South Charleston facilities.
The Sustainability Partnership is an innovative program developed by EPA’s mid-Atlantic region to create a one-stop shopping approach for organizations that use large quantities of energy, water, and natural resources and want to “go green.” Instead of dealing with each of EPA’s voluntary programs individually, EPA staff will work out a comprehensive ‘green’ plan for organizations that often saves money and makes good business sense. The overall goal of the SPP is to minimize the use of energy, resources and waste generation in the mid-Atlantic states.
“Today, both companies take a tremendous step forward in providing a more sustainable future for the people of West Virginia,” said Garvin. “EPA is making a concerted effort to partner with states and businesses to improve environmental performance and make larger strides in sustaining our communities. And voluntary efforts that are initiated and tracked through programs like our Sustainability Partnership are a proven way to go.”
”It’s a great day for Toyota and Dow as they have come a long way in the area of corporate sustainability,” said Secretary Huffman. “Toyota and Dow have learned to recognize the complementary relationships among the environment, economy and communities in West Virginia, and further realize that this Sustainability Partnership goes far beyond stakeholder involvement – it requires working within their facilities and with communities to tackle specific environmental issues.”
In 2000 Toyota’s Buffalo, W.Va. facility began implementing an environmental management system (EMS). Three years later, it had become, and remains, a zero landfill contributor — reusing or recycling materials that otherwise would have been sent to landfills. By implementing the EMS and setting long-term goals, Toyota is already addressing ways to reduce waste, water usage, greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous materials usage and wastewater discharge.
At Dow West Virginia Operation’s South Charleston facility, the company has been working to reduce energy, water use, waste generation, and has increased the facility’s land and habitat conservation.
During a three-year demolition project, Dow saved 49,939 tons of concrete/masonry from going to the landfill by reusing the material. During 2007-2008, Dow recovered 3,726 tons of ferrous and non-ferrous metals for reuse; developed a 10-acre wildlife habitat certified by Wildlife Habitat Council; worked with South Charleston Middle School students to install birdhouses, plant native wildflowers and prairie grasses. Dow continues to work on the implementation of a wildlife management plan and is exploring collaborative opportunities with EPA and WVDEP to help schools remove hazardous materials and waste.
Additionally, Dow West Virginia’s South Charleston facility is implementing the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care Program, which requires CEO-level commitments to measure and publicly report environmental performance and to obtain independent certification that the company’s environmental management plan functions according to professional standards.