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PPG Particulates, GHG, Ozone-Depleting Compounds Rise

PPG Industries’ emissions of ozone-depleting chemicals and particulate matter were up 36 percent and 26 percent last year, and both now exceed 2006 levels, according to the company’s corporate sustainability report for 2010.

The report (pdf) shows that greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), non-hazardous waste, energy intensity and water consumption all increased last year – the first two by double digits – while hazardous waste and water discharged both fell. The improving economy and growing customer demand for its products led PPG to increase production across many of its facilities in 2009 and 2010, increasing many of its consumption and emissions metrics, the supplier of paints, coatings and other speciality products said.

Non-hazardous waste disposal increased 43 percent, from 189,215 metric tons in 2009 to 270,165 metric tons in 2010. This was due primarily to increases in production in PPG’s glass and chemicals business, to the rebuild of a furnace at its Wichita Falls, Texas, facility and to recycling of waste glass at its Fresno, Calif., plant, the report said.

GHG emissions rose by ten percent last year, from 5.53 to 6.09 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent, falling short of a 2010 goal of 5.83. Emissions are down from their levels in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and the company said it continues to work towards a goal of cutting emissions to 5.7 million metric tons by the end of 2011.

Since its last sustainability report in 2008, PPG says it has integrated new software that allows it to better understand and manage its environmental impact. “The company believes that it has for the first time captured a full picture of its environmental footprint,” the report said.

PPG’s hazardous waste output was down to 82,464 metric tons in 2010, from 83,760 metric tons in 2009. “This is due to production changes that affected waste volumes and off-site disposal of non-moving or obsolete products,” the report said.

Water discharge was also down, by four percent. PPG said this was mostly because of efforts to reduce cooling water requirements at its Lake Charles, La., facility.

But water consumption was slightly up in 2010 versus 2009, from 440 million to 444 million cubic meters. This was primarily due to more water being used in brine production in some of the company’s commodity chemicals facilities, PPG said.

In 2010 PPG’s emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) increased eight percent, sulfur dioxide rose by 14 percent and nitrogen oxide was up by 13 percent, though all were down on 2006 levels. PPG says it is introducing initiatives to reduce NOx emissions, and expects a 2,000 ton per year reduction in these emissions in 2011, due to its use of oxygen-fuel technology on glass furnaces.

In 2010 PPG’s energy intensity rose by three percent, from 8.7 to 8.94 million BTUs per short ton of net product, slowing the company’s progress in meeting a 2016 goal of 7 million BTUs per short ton of net product. But energy intensity is down compared to 2006 and 2007.

Earlier this month PPG reached a settlement with the National Resources Defense Council and community groups over a New Jersey site contaminated with hexavalent chromium. Under the agreement, PPG will be required to clean up the carcinogen to levels four times more stringent than state standards.

More on PPG’s 2009 environmental progress is available here.

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