From Sustainable Evansville Newsletter
Winners of the 2013 Sustainable Evansville Awards were announced on December 10 at the Sustainable Evansville Awards Ceremony during the Rotary Club meeting. For 2013, Sustainable Evansville Awards Winners were SABIC, of Mount Vernon for its Sodium Nitrite Purge Process and another Posey County based company, Verde Partners, LLC, for its recycling program.
As a result of the complex chemical processes that SABIC’s Mount Vernon, Ind., facility uses to produce engineering thermoplastic resins, waste material is generated and disposed of in a responsible manner at an off-site waste processing facility. SABIC Mount Vernon employees have successfully developed a process to reduce the amount of landfill waste, reduce energy usage, and reduce greenhouse emissions from one of its manufacturing processes.
SABIC employees created a process to recover and purify the chemical, Sodium Nitrite, from a waste stream that had previously been disposed of through incineration. After an extensive internal environmental, health and safety review, SABIC now converts the Sodium Nitrite-containing waste stream to a technical grade Sodium Nitrite product and sells it commercially for pigment manufacturing and waste biomass disinfection at wastewater treatment facilities.
By separating and purifying the Sodium Nitrite-containing portion (60 percent) of the waste stream, the remaining portion of the stream (40 percent) is of a composition such that it can be disposed of as non-hazardous waste by solidifying and landfilling it. Eliminating the incineration process has resulted in a 4.0 percent reduction in total combined energy intensity for the entire Mount Vernon production facility and the off-site incineration process.
Benefits of the implementation of the Sodium Nitrite purification and solidification/landfill processes, along with the elimination of the incineration process, include:
• In 2011, purifying and selling the Sodium Nitrite stream resulted in a reduction of 9,766,620 pounds of nonhazardous waste. This number is expected to grow to 25,000,000 pounds per year at full Sodium Nitrite harvest and full plant production rates.
• The net result of the process led to a reduction in energy use through reduction of natural gas usage by 65,000 MMBTU/year.
• The facility also reduced greenhouse emission by 4,500 metric tons/year.
SABIC’s Sodium Nitrite production is 10 percent of the United States’ total Sodium Nitrite production, and our recovered Sodium Nitrite has displaced the use of raw materials to manufacture virgin Sodium Nitrite.
As a landscape architect, Rick Lamble and his wife, Jenny identified a need in the Evansville landscaping industry. When customers wanted to beautify their property with flora and fauna, there was no place to recycle the used plastic containers. This resulted in hundreds of thousands of plastic containers entering Evansville area landfills every year. The plastic containers that hold these plants are made from an industrial grade plastic that is not commonly accepted among local recyclers. Rick watched with discomfort as truckloads of these containers were hauled to the landfill after the completion of each project. He knew something had to be done.
Rick and Jenny had a chance meeting with Eric Stockton, a Mount Vernon native and Sales and Applications Manager at Lucent Polymers, also located in Evansville. Rick and Jenny expressed their concern over the large volumes of plastic waste being unnecessarily landfilled and their mission to find a solution. Eric offered to test this specialty plastic and explore opportunities to reuse it in other product applications, rather than sending it to the landfill. This research proved successful and a partnership was forged. Verde Partners, LLC was created and immediately began collecting landscaping containers in 2012.
Verde Partners set up a landscape waste collection receptacle at Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve and began reaching out to local businesses. The response was overwhelming. Fifteen Evansville-area landscaping companies (and five regional companies) have joined forces with Verde Partners, diverting an estimated 155,000 pounds in landscaping plastic from local landfills to date. Word of this new specialty plastic recycling service spread and other businesses came forward with their unrecyclable plastic waste. In one year’s time
Verde’s efforts grew beyond the landscaping industry and into the world of melon farming in Posey County, food service in Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties and natural gas delivery across southern and central Indiana. They have also partnered with Vectren, Evansville Solid Waste Management District and the Southwestern Indiana Master Gardener Association. Since its inception, Verde Partners has diverted 200,000 pounds of specialty plastic from Evansville area landfills in total in just over one year’s time; and there is no slowing down. Verde Partners makes their mission simple and clear, to “do the right thing.”
Unsatisfied with the volume of industrial-grade plastic entering Evansville’s landfills, Rick and Jenny took action to do something about it. Their business continues to grow quickly as they change the way Evansville area businesses look at their waste streams, and offer affordable solutions to make local business operations sustainable.
From Sustainable Evansville Newsletter