As end consumers become more and more socially and environmentally conscious, demand for eco-friendly products continues to rise.
To help you thrive in this changing landscape, Hudson Technologies has implemented a variety of environmentally focused initiatives, providing our clients and their customers with the eco-friendly, sustainable options they desire while reliably protecting our team members and communities.
Hudson Technologies — an industry-leading metal stamping and deep-drawn stamping provider — spent two years and over $2 million in research, development, capital costs, and training to ensure all our operations and products met stringent environmental standards. In 2007, we brought our 115,000-square-foot, fully eco-friendly manufacturing facility online, and today we remain one of the only companies in the industry with such rigorous environmental standards.
What Is Green Manufacturing?
Green manufacturing is the practice of using more sustainable, eco-friendly, and/or energy-efficient production techniques to reduce a company’s environmental footprint. Companies across different sectors can find their own path to green manufacturing by prioritizing any or all of these efforts:
- Reducing pollution and waste in the manufacturing process itself or the organization’s supply chain
- Reducing and managing carbon emissions or toxic emissions
- Using fewer natural resources
- Recycling and reusing materials (or switching to recycled or reused materials for products and packaging)
Green manufacturing is a broad categorization, so organizations can develop different strategies for lowering their environmental impact. For example, manufacturers might develop their own technologies and processes, or they might utilize eco-friendly third parties and technologies. Both approaches can satisfy the definition of green manufacturing. However, one crucial element of green manufacturing that is often unexplored is training. Companies can invest in green manufacturing and develop long-term best practices by training their teams on these green practices across different categories:
Manufacturers can train employees on managing alternative energy systems. Renewable energy sources, such as geothermal, solar, hydropower, biomass and landfill gases, and wind, can power significant portions of the manufacturing process by providing electricity, fuel, or direct heat. Employees can also learn best practices to reduce energy waste and monitor energy consumption.
Manufacturing and shipping generate a lot of waste. Employees trained in green practices can identify sources of material waste, reduce waste generation, use technologies to recycle, reuse, or repurpose material waste, and more. Recycling programs, composting, and waste reprocessing systems can all lower the amount of waste in an organization.
Carbon emissions and air quality are major manufacturing concerns. With the right training, employers can enable workers to successfully reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, capture pollutants for processing and elimination, and properly manage systems for reducing carbon footprints.
Why Are Green Manufacturers Important?
Making the switch to green manufacturing is important to securing the future of manufacturing in the United States. Manufacturing is one of the largest sectors and powers domestic retail, utility management, construction, and more. Because manufacturing occurs on such a large scale across the country, seemingly insignificant amounts of chemicals, product waste, and emissions can turn into unmanageable situations. But as more and more manufacturers adopt greener processes, we can curb the negative effects of energy consumption and material waste, as well as minimize human-caused environmental disasters.
What Are the Benefits of Green Manufacturing?
Green manufacturing isn’t just important for the country and the planet. It also offers a wide range of benefits for manufacturers that invest in greener practices. Some of the most significant benefits your organization can see are:
Recycling materials and reducing waste can have a direct impact on your business’s bottom line. Some specific changes that will reduce costs include:
- Switching to LEDs, which use less energy
- Reducing material waste, leading to reduced material costs
- Reducing employee turnover by bolstering morale and engagement through green initiatives
- More efficient use of water, reducing usage and waste disposal
- Trimming down your supply chain to trusted, green suppliers that also prioritize cost-savings through sustainable practices
State and federal tax incentives are designed to encourage industrial adoption of geothermal heating, solar and wind energy projects, and more. Depending on the programs available in your area, you may receive tax credits that cover up to 30% of the cost (on top of long-term cost savings).
The majority of consumers prefer sustainable products and companies now more than ever before. 56% of Americans polled by CBS think we should be acting to counter climate change. Creating—and promoting—green initiatives can make your brand more visible to these consumers, bolster your company reputation, and lead to stronger customer loyalty.
Just like consumers prefer buying from green companies, growing numbers of prospective employees prefer to work for green organizations that align with their personal values. Adopting green practices can make your company more appealing to these professionals. This strategy is even more critical as labor shortages grow and fewer experienced manufacturing experts are entering the job market.
Growing the US Manufacturing Sector
Making the switch to green manufacturing is an important part of long-term job growth in the domestic manufacturing sector. Green manufacturers alone employ 26% of green energy workers, and green manufacturing is one of the only steadily growing facets of US-based manufacturing. By investing in green manufacturing now, companies will have a better foothold in the market as it continues to evolve and demand more sustainable practices.
New Lubrication and Aqueous Cleaning Systems
The manufacturing lubrication and cleaning products used in stamping and deep drawn manufacturing processes are two of the most environmentally regulated aspects of the industry. We focused on both of these processes when environmentally upgrading our facility.
We first focused on lubricants, replacing the traditional chlorinated lubricants that we had been using with state-of-the-art biodegradable lubricants, which are environmentally friendly. We then had to come up with a way to eliminate solvent-based metal cleaners, such as trichloroethylene (TCE), from our manufacturing process. Although highly effective as a cleaner, the TCE compound is regulated as a hazardous substance and volatile organic compound, and its use in cleaning metal products generates hazardous waste.
To significantly improve upon this, we implemented an aqueous, or water-based, cleaning system that requires no solvent-based cleaners. In our aqueous cleaning system, parts are cleaned in a vertically aligned agitator. The up-and-down agitation generates a natural hydraulic purging action, which forces an environmentally friendly water-based solution into all parts of metal components, wedging particles of biodegradable lubricant from the metal surfaces. Basket rotation, high-pressure submerged spray, and ultrasonics also play a part in the cleaning system, enhancing the action of the vertical agitation. Cleaned parts are then dried in an energy-efficient, HEPA-filtered recirculating dryer.
Thanks to these changes, Hudson Technologies’ manufacturing and cleaning processes are now significantly more environmentally friendly, producing no hazardous waste of any kind.
Learn More About Green Manufacturing
With these changes in place, all wastewater from our facility can be sent to the Ormond Beach, Florida, wastewater system with minimal secondary processing. We also continue to work closely with Ormond Beach and Volusia County to ensure our wastewater meets all local, state, and federal guidelines.
In 2009, the Volusia Manufacturers Association recognized our efforts with their “Go Green” Best Practice Award, and in 2011, our environmental management system — which we developed in conjunction with our aqueous cleaning system.
To learn more about Hudson Technologies’ green manufacturing practices and how they can benefit your products, contact us today.