Valspar is committed to strong Environmental Performance, from minimizing the environmental impact of our facilities, to developing innovative solutions for our customers.
Organic solvents are a common raw material used in the production of paints, resins, and coatings. When these solvents evaporate, they release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The cost of raw materials and solvents has increase significantly over the last several years. Valspar recognizes that minimizing the emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) is both good for business and good for the environment.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Valspar has made significant improvement in reducing emissions of VOCs. Between 2003 and 2010, Valspar manufacturing locations in the United States reduced total VOC emissions by 381 tons (47% reduction) and reduced normalized VOC emissions by 43% (pounds released per ton produced).
Hazardous Air Pollutants
The 1990 Clean Air Act directed the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate emissions of certain chemicals called Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs). Valspar has made significant improvement in reducing in emissions of HAPs. Between 2003 and 2010, Valspar manufacturing locations in the United States reduced total hazardous air pollutant emissions by 289 tons (73% reduction) and reduced normalized HAP emissions by 71% (pounds released per ton produced).
Toxic Release Inventory
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986
established the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). This program requires
manufacturing locations in the United States to publicly report environmental
releases and transfers of listed chemicals. Valspar has made significant
improvement in reducing releases to the air, land and water of TRI chemicals.
Between 2003 and 2010, Valspar has reduced TRI releases to air, land,
and water by 243 tons (62% reduction) and reduced normalized TRI releases
by 59% (pounds released per ton produced).
Valspar's Research and Development chemists and engineers continue to develop and expand our product portfolio of environmentally improved water-borne technologies that contain fewer VOCs and HAPs. The increased deployment and use of water-borne technologies have lowered the VOC emissions from Valspar's manufacturing locations, manufacturing facilities of our customers, and consumers. Valspar used a combination of new product technology and reformulation as well as the installation of additional pollution control equipment to reduce VOC, HAP, and TRI releases.
Material Efficiency and Waste Minimization
Valspar defines "material waste" as any material that is purchased or is part of purchased materials (e.g. pallets, packaging) that is not ultimately used and sold to our customers. In 1995, Valspar launched an initiative to continuously improve our results in this area and ensure the maximum efficiency in how we utilize raw materials. Material waste reduction is a key performance metric in Valspar and is measured and reported on a monthly basis in terms of costs per unit produced. Valspar also requires that all global locations establish an annual material waste improvement goal. Since 1995, Valspar has reduced material waste costs per unit produced by approximately 20%. Valspar seeks to minimize waste because it will lower our operating expenses and reduce our environmental impact.
Valspar uses the following hierarchy for waste minimization:
- Source reduction
- Energy recovery
- Treatment and Disposal
If source reduction, reuse, or recycling is not possible, Valspar seeks to utilize offsite energy recovery methods for waste management where Valspar's wastes are used as a fuel source for other company's operations. For example, cement kilns and other energy intensive industries need large quantities of fuel; off-site energy recovery means that Valspar's waste is used as a fuel source for these industries, replacing other fossil fuels.
The following chart provides a summary of the percentage of recycling, energy recovery, and treatment and releases for Valspar U.S. locations.
- The information is taken from Valspar's EPA TRI report for calendar year 2010.
- As the graph illustrates, Valspar predominately utilizes on-site recycling (61%) and off-site energy recovery (28%).
- On-site recycling has a direct Environmental benefit because it reduces the overall raw material usage for a location.
- Off-site energy recovery has an indirect environmental benefit: Valspar's waste is used as a fuel source by another company and replaces the consumption of other fossil fuels.
Energy Efficiency and Management
Like many manufacturing companies, rising energy and fuel costs have impacted Valspar. In an effort to reduce our energy expense and improve our environmental profile, Valspar has established an Energy Reduction Taskforce that is using Lean Six Sigma tools to identify and replicate energy efficiency projects across the corporation.
Valspar belongs to the American Coatings Association (ACA). The ACA and our industry are active participants in EPA's Sector Strategies Program. This program develops performance improvement strategies for major manufacturing and service sectors of the U.S. economy. It is a collaborative effort between industry and government. Information from the program is published and shared with the public.
The Sector Strategy program completed a survey in 2007 of the Paint and Coatings industry's Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and determined that the industry is not a significant contributor to GHG emissions (based on CO2 equivalents).