MUSKEGON — Scott Plummer, the environmental, health and safety manager at ADAC Plastics Inc., has been working since 2000 to improve the quality of the company.
Plummer, who helped the automotive manufacturer’s Muskegon plants receive Clean Corporate Citizen designation from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, is now reaching out to help other Muskegon-area manufacturers.
“It’s not a bad program to be in,” he said of the C3 designation, which has helped his company bring in more business with companies such as Honda.
It also has public relations benefits in the perception of the company and regulatory benefits of getting on the fast track for some permits.
“Our customers love it,” he said. “It’s amazing how strong they push for it. It’s a really big push if you’re in the automobile world.”
Plummer said ADAC has put together an environmental management system that helps with continuous improvement, prevention of pollution and compliance with regulations.
The company also began a recycling program in 2004 that gave ADAC an 84 percent reuse rate of its solvents. In 2004, 985 purged solvent drums were recycled and 823 drums of reconstituted solvent were bought by ADAC, requiring only 84 drums of virgin solvent to be mixed with the reconstituted solvent. Since January, 328 drums of purged solvent have been recycled and 304 drums of reconstituted solvent have been bought. ADAC has not yet had to buy drums of virgin solvent this year. Plummer said this change has saved the company’s Muskegon plants thousands of dollars.
More than 100,000 pounds of solid hazardous waste, such as personal protective equipment and soiled mop heads and rags, also have been recycled since August 2004.
“We also do our share of recycling with scrap plastic, cardboard and metal,” Plummer said. “We’re saving money on disposal costs as well as being environmentally conscious.”
Patricia Schafer, membership director for the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce, said she would like to create more awareness of the C3 designation in the area.
Schafer said she thinks Muskegon manufacturers are suffering because of poor environmental reputations.
“There are a lot of things being done, but we hear the bad news rather than the good news,” she said.
One way of creating awareness is with the Environmental Performance Users Group, which was started by the Muskegon chamber and Muskegon Area First Manufacturer’s Council in hopes of giving manufacturers more resources to improve their environmental standing. Plummer presented at the group’s first meeting, which took place at ADAC’s Keating Avenue location as part of Muskegon’s Manufacturing Week.
Eugenia Brown, Muskegon Area First business development specialist, said she thought the first meeting went well, but she hopes for more participants in the future.
“I’m thinking the second meeting will give a better idea of how many people are interested in it,” she said.
Brown and Schafer would like to make the meetings quarterly, with the next tentatively set for Aug. 12. The meetings would take place at different manufacturing plants and hopefully include a tour of the facilities, as the first meeting did. Brown and Schafer hope more manufacturers will take an interest in the group and the environment.
“We’re hoping they will all want to become a C3 designation,” Brown said. “That way Muskegon can be more attractive, at least for the manufacturers, so they can increase their business.”