3M/Dyneon Plant Honored for Outstanding Pollution Prevention

Richard Thigpen, chairman of the Alabama Environmental Commission (left), and Rick Hilton, Dyneon Decatur plant environmental health safety and regulatory manager.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) awarded 3M's and Dyneon's Decatur, Ala., manufacturing plant with its Director's Award in Pollution Prevention for superior performance in controlling and preventing environmental pollution.

Operated by Dyneon, a 3M company and one of the world's leading manufacturers of fluoropolymers, and 3M's Specialty Materials Manufacturing Chemical and Specialty Film and Media Products Divisions, the Decatur plant produces specialty films and chemicals as well as fluoroelastomers.

One of five facilities honored with the prestigious ADEM award, the facility employs the Pollution Prevention Pays (3P) program that focuses on ways to inhibit the creation of pollutants during manufacturing. This program has also been credited with maintaining the facility's ISO 14001 certification -- an international quality standard for excellence in pollution-control functions.

"This is a successful program for us as a team," says Tom Maijala, Dyneon's Decatur plant manager. "Our employees generate enthusiasm for the pollution-prevention projects that result in successful progress. This also builds a sense of community both in and around the plant."

The plant's 3P program encourages employees to voluntarily develop innovative pollution-control projects that are submitted to the 3P Coordination Committee and the plant's Environmental Health and Safety group for review and approval. Approved and implemented programs are recognized with 3P awards and result in significant technical accomplishments, cost savings and pollution prevention within the plant.

Since 1976, approved, employee-led 3P programs prevented approximately 79.4 million pounds of pollution and 412 million gallons of wastewater at the Decatur plant. These results generated savings of more than $72 million.

The 3P program is further strengthened by discussing project results and other plant procedures at annual meetings with owners of homes and businesses surrounding the plant. Projects are evaluated at these meetings for their impact on the surrounding community. Opinion surveys have indicated that local residents consistently award the plant high marks for environmental responsibility.

"We are very proud of this award," says Dyneon president Jim Gregory. "We have already been rewarded by the Decatur community through continuing support of plant safety and pollution-control programs. This official recognition is a wonderful pat on the back for the employees at this location."

Dyneon LLC, a 3M (St. Paul, Minn.) company, has operations or representation in more than 50 countries. Headquartered in Oakdale, Minn., the company employs more than 900 people worldwide.