- Schupan & Sons CEO on the Pride and Profitability of Being Green
"We're all on this planet together, and if you do the right things you hope it has a multiplier effect," says Schupan. "I have children, and I want them to be proud of how we operate and handle our business. Our employees want to be proud of the values of their employer."
- Catastrophic coal ash releases serve as a backdrop to regulatory battle
The United States generates millions of tons of coal ash, mostly related to the combustion of coal to generate energy. The ash is stored in landfills or open impoundments that are not currently regulated under federal laws governing solid and hazardous wastes. Despite high profile releases of tons of coal ash, EPA regulation is still not a certainty.
- Crippen Dealership: Driving a green initiative for dealerships
"Greening our dealership was the right thing to do - not only for sales, but also for the environment."
- Oakland University student Alex Kozlowski is recycling for a better future
"Throughout the course of human history we've had three revolutions: agricultural, industrial, technological and the inevitable fourth one will be the sustainability revolution," says Kozlowski. "It's just a matter of time and we need to make it happen if we want to survive on this planet.
- Kirk Heinze: Why don't more of us recycle?
National studies suggest that even when people have ready access to recycling-either curbside or at a nearby center-most still don't get into the habit. According to Tom Emmerich, President of Kalamazoo-based Schupan Recycling, the key is not necessarily convenience; rather, it is education.
More Plastic Bottles in Our Landfills? Ford Has a Better Idea - Carpeting
- Laura Sinclair talks with Kirk Heinze
By Caitlin Cox
“We have a very aggressive sustainability group,” says Sinclair. “We continually look at unique things to put in vehicles to make sure we meet or exceed our durability and performance standards, so that the customer doesn’t notice a difference in its use, but yet we are recycling and helping the environment by keeping reusable products out of landfills.”
Using recycled products such as plastic (in this case, PET bottles with a recycling code of one), is just one way Ford is able to decrease its carbon footprint.
“We are able to use 25, recycled 20 ounce plastic bottles for every vehicle,” says Sinclair.
Water bottles are easily recyclable since polyester is the main component. This allows Ford to upgrade a material that has been used for many years both in floor carpeting and in vehicle carpeting, says Sinclair.
To overcome problems with streaking and durability in recycled plastic, Sinclair says Ford modified its production process to ensure the plastic bottles meet durability qualifications and essentially act as a virgin material, thus causing no reduction in quality.
Another reason to purchase the eco-friendly vehicle, says Sinclair, is that there is no added cost.
“It is actually cost-neutral or cost-saving compared to the virgin plastic, which is harder to come by.”
Along with recycled plastic, engineers are also working on several exciting bio-based projects that include the use of soy foam in seats. Other naturally occurring materials like hemp, wheat and coconut-based products are also the focus of research and development efforts at Ford.
“Ford is always looking for new and different things to do to that will help enhance our sustainability blueprint,” says Sinclair. “In order for us to drive change, we must maintain our holistic plan that spans the economic, environmental and cultural dimensions of sustainability.”
Sinclair’s commitment to a more eco-friendly planet does not end when she leaves the office. As a mom, she also helps her five and two-year-old children recycle at home.
“I am able to incorporate some of the recycling tactics I work on at Ford into what I teach my children about recycling in our home.”
With Ford’s interest in decreasing its carbon footprint and increasing its use of eco-friendly materials, Sinclair says she is optimistic about the future.
“At this rate, twenty or thirty years from now we can reduce our carbon foot print dramatically,” says Sinclair. “By using a lot of renewable and recycled products, we can make sure that we don’t have much of our product going into the scrap yard at the end of the vehicle’s life.”