Earth Day: More Than a 24-Hour Cycle

While individuals clean their neighborhoods and plant trees for the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day, many glass companies within the industry have already adopted the mindset that effectively observing the annual event requires more dedication than one day of attention allows.

“Invest In Our Planet™” is the theme for Earth Day 2022, which falls on Friday, April 22. Investment, by definition, requires the devotion of time and effort with the goal of materializing a worthwhile result. That result, a cleaner and healthier Earth on which businesses and production can thrive, comes closer to reality each year as companies and organizations continue to adopt long-lasting sustainability practices.

Assa Abloy, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, outlines a sustainability agenda including both social and environmental priorities aimed at the reduction of the company’s environmental impact. From optimizing resource and energy consumption to minimizing carbon emissions and improving sustainability performance at the supply-chain level, Assa Abloy writes that adoption of such practices keeps in line with its vision of being an innovative industry leader.

For example, the company writes on its website that new products are evaluated from a “life cycle perspective,” with many of those products saving energy thanks to improved insulation and “intelligent control of various door opening solutions.” The company is also phasing out and replacing hazardous processes with eco-friendly options, among other initiatives.

Pulp Studio Inc. of Gardena, Calif., writes that it is committed to maintaining a non-VOC, or volatile organic compounds, environment.

“How we dispose of the waste – from both unused water-based paint and the cleaning of machinery – is a choice,” the company writes. “Our choice is to clean the water by removing solids so it can be reused. The small number of solids are then disposed of and repurposed.”

France’s Saint-Gobain is another company that has adopted a more long-lasting commitment to sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices. Saint-Gobain sets a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. In fact, according to the company, progress is already underway as its solutions sold in one year allow for the reduction of carbon dioxide to the tune of approximately 1,300 metric tons (MT).

“Through our sustainable resource management, we commit to optimizing our usage of virgin raw materials to facilitate the transition to a circular economy,” the company advertised on a video via its website.

Saint-Gobain says the shift toward sustainable solutions is not a niche priority but applies to the entire value chain.

Vitro explains on its website that it recycled 712,708 metric tons in 2019, with 23% of recycled glass coming from outside suppliers. Additional accomplishments include 2019 efficiency projects that allowed for a 6% reduction in the company’s carbon footprint. Two of the company’s Mexico plants are also 90% supplied with renewable energy from a wind farm in Juchitán, Oaxaca.
“We have an Energy Management System comprised of energy savings projects that reduce the overall environmental footprint of our operations,” Vitro says.

Companies are changing the way they manufacture to be more sustainable. For example, Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, part of the NSG Group, has become the world’s first flat glass manufacturer to fire its furnace on 100% biofuel as part of an industry trial to find sustainable alternatives to natural gas.

For more information on sustainability efforts and ways to make positive environmental impacts, go to the official Earth Day 2022 website.

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