The mission at the Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) is to protect and enhance Kentucky's environment. In support of this mission, DEP is proud to recognize and encourage environmental excellence in the Commonwealth through its Environmental Excellence Awards program. We know that individuals, businesses and organizations are committed to protecting and improving Kentucky's environment, and through this program, we would like to recognize those efforts and activities.
The Department for Environmental Protection is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Environmental Excellence Awards, which were presented at the 2016 Governor's Conference on Energy and the Environment in Lexington.
The awards recipients are as follows:
KY EXCEL Champion Award: Leggett & Platt Inc. - Winchester Spring
Leggett & Platt Inc. - Winchester Spring now uses significant amounts of recycled materials within its manufacturing processes, so that landfill pickups are once a quarter versus every other day as they were previously. In 2015 through encouragement from Leggett & Platt, customers and vendors returned 7,720 pallets to the facility for reuse. The facility also recycled 2,089 pounds of aluminum cans, 2,907 pounds of plastic bottles, 722 pounds of plastic packaging materials, 10,792 pounds of maintenance scrap steel and 1,441,420 pounds of scrap steel.
Leggett & Platt promotes employee and community awareness by participating in Clark County Community Cleanup, as well as Earth Day celebrations. A KY Green Fleets member tracks the facility's fleet data to learn and share best practices to achieve fuel efficiency and cost savings, improve peak performance and reduce environmental impacts.
Community Environmental Luminary Award: City of Radcliff, Parking Complex
The City of Radcliff has transformed the City Hall complex from a 3.5-acre "sea of asphalt" that was plagued by building flooding and mold, heat island effects and concerns about the water quality impacts to the community's environmental treasure, Saunders Spring Nature Preserve. Now, the complex showcases a variety of aesthetically pleasing green infrastructure options at a facility that is well-traveled by local developers and contractors, promoting education on the benefits and application of green infrastructure. The city expanded on the successes of a grant-funded initial project covering about half the site, while the expanded project covers the entire campus with full financial support from the city.
Resource Caretaker Award: Nucor Steel Gallatin
In November 2014, Nucor Steel Gallatin invested in a waste-minimization project. Drop out material is heavy particles that fall out of a conveyor prior to reaching the baghouse. Historically, this material was loaded into trucks as hazardous waste, sent to a stabilization facility and then landfilled. A teammate installed a screw conveyor that redirected the materials to the baghouse dust silo, where it is now mixed with the baghouse dust and sent to a heavy metals recovery facility. In 2015, Nucor Steel Gallatin redirected 880 tons of material from a landfill to a recycling facility. The facility has also reduced the number of miles driven by trucks by 11,000 miles per year, reducing the air emissions associated with hauling the waste.
Environmental Pacesetter Award for an Individual/Organization: Rick Palmer
Johnson Controls, located in Georgetown, is an ISO 14001-certified plant that produces polyurethane foam automotive seat cushions and complete seat sets for Toyota. The facility stores and processes around 100,000 pounds of chemicals daily, some of which are considered hazardous. Rick Palmer, the environmental manager, has the overall responsibilities for ensuring the plant is within compliance of federal, state, local and company regulations. Under Rick's leadership, the plant has a perfect score on environmental audits and achieved zero findings, concerns or issues on ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems audits since 2011.
In the last four years, Rick has overseen a total of 42 sustainability projects, ranging from reducing annual electric consumption by 750,045 kWh to reducing landfill waste by 31 tons annually. When Rick took over in 2008 as environmental manager, the plant had been averaging 9,291 pounds of hazardous waste annually. From 2009 to YTD 2016, the plant has been averaging 3,098 pounds of hazardous waste generated annually. One of the biggest projects that Rick implemented was reducing VOC emissions from their Mold Release Application by 30 tons annually.
Environmental Pacesetter for Small Business: Klausing Group
The Klausing Group, of Lexington, has a rooftop rainwater harvesting system, two permeable paver parking lots, a rain garden and a vegetative roof. In total, Klausing Group's water quality Best Management Practices can capture and prevent nearly 50,000 gallons of water from entering the stormwater infrastructure system. Additionally, Klausing Group hosts many educational site tours, which have included such diverse audiences as students, garden clubs, members of the U.S. Green Business Council, members of Lexington Fayette Urban County Government's Department of Environmental Quality and other professionals. In the past two years, Klausing Group has hosted more than 400 visitors who came specifically to learn about their green infrastructure projects.
Environmental Pacesetter for Medium to Large Business: Smithfield Middlesboro
The Middlesboro facility creates approximately 8.5 million packages of ham steaks per year. The product line was being packaged with a film combination of 7 mil thickness for the bottom and 3 mil for the top. The team recognized an opportunity to reduce the package thickness and ultimately reduce the waste generation within the facility and in commerce.
After working with vendors, the Middlesboro team was able to find the best film to suit production needs, while increasing efficiency and minimizing waste generation. The facility is now able to use 23 percent less packaging for its products on one production line. The thinner film has also allowed Smithfield to create 28 percent more impressions per roll, resulting in fewer changeovers for an overall cost savings of $110,000. The film reduction project is projected to reduce the overall packaging into commerce and ultimately into the landfill by 100,000 pounds per year. The project has also increased efficiency on the production floor by saving approximately $5,400 in labor per year.