While the tool and die industry hasn't always been known for its environmentally friendly practices, the tide is turning at Diamond Die and Mold Company in Clinton Township, Michigan. Under the leadership of JoAnn Hinds, Diamond Die has made improvements to the physical plant as well as changes in business practices to be gentler to the earth.
Hinds holds an MBA as well as a Master's degree in biology and once dreamed of going into the field of forestry. "I have always had an interest in the environment. My work in the tool and die industry felt like a departure from that for many years, but now I see how I can bring these two interests together to create a stronger company and a healthier environment," said Hinds. Earlier this year, she put this idea into practice when her heating and lighting systems needed to be replaced. Instead of keeping the old furnace system intact, she decided to install new energy efficient models. The radiant heating systems and Energy Star furnace cost more up front, but they have already seen a cost-savings of more than 30 percent in the gas bills and they expect a return on their investment in less than four years. Energy Star equipment uses roughly 65 percent less energy than standard equipment and saved Americans $6 billion in 2008 alone.
With energy credits available Diamond Die also converted from T12 to T8 fluorescent lighting fixtures decreasing from 144 8-ft. 4-bulb fixtures to 84 4-ft. 4 bulb fixtures. Employees at Diamond Die are happy since the plant is so much brighter and management will see a return on this investment in three to four years.
Diamond Die also makes a conscious effort to buy raw materials from environmentally responsible sources and manufacture products using cleaner processes. In the plant, the company has made a major effort to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals and the creation of hazardous byproducts from processes like chrome plating. Instead of the old process where so many toxic materials were used and created, they've switched to newer processes that are friendlier for the environment, thus reducing the carbon footprint while making the work environment itself safer for its employees.
Reducing the Garbage Bill
At Diamond Die, management knows well that the little things add up. For years the company has been recycling plastic, glass, and paper in the shop. At first the employees thought it wouldn't make a difference, but by management mandate, everyone is actively taking part and there ha been a significantly reduced amount of garbage produced. This can be monitored and thereby reduce costs by having fewer garbage pickups. In the office, further recycling is performed by reusing the back of every sheet of paper, which has led to a 65 percent reduction in paper consumption.
Some "Paper Facts": recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons (27,000 liters) of water, 3 cubic yards (2.3m3) of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,100kW hours of electricity — enough to power a home for 5 months. In addition:
- $20 billion — The amount of money that would be saved if the energy efficiency of commercial and industrial buildings were improved by 10 percent.
- In 2008, Americans and Energy Star saved enough energy to power 10 million homes and avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 12 million cars while saving $6 billion USD.
- 17 trees saved can absorb a total of 250 pounds (113.6kg) of carbon dioxide; burning 17 trees would create 1500 pounds (682kg) of carbon dioxide.
In the future. the company is considering providing all employees with reusable water bottles so they don't see as many plastic bottles headed to the recycle bin. "I can't stand to see so much of our money going toward buying water and then throwing out the plastic bottles. Recycling has been the first step, but reusable water bottles will cut down on cost and reduce waste," said Hinds.
In the global tool and die manufacturing market, Hinds demonstrates her ability to remain financially competitive while also providing high quality goods made in America. She sees these green improvements in the business as an opportunity to strengthen the manufacturing sector. Hinds said, "When I buy materials from responsible vendors and improve processes in my plant we all win. My vendors know that I expect more and they work harder to provide it. My employees know that I make their health and safety a top priority. I believe that my customers value Diamond Die's commitment to the environment and know that our products are superior because of it."
Contact: Diamond Die & Mold Company, 35401 Groesbeck Highway, Clinton Township, MI 48035 ,: 586-791-0700 fax: 586-791-5419 Web: http://www.diamond-die.com