How One Chemical Maker is Reducing Its Environmental Footprint

by | May 17, 2022

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Long before the Maroon Group had gotten acquired in December 2020, it had been on the cutting edge of environmental and energy management programs — ones that received recognition from Ohio’s EPA. Now that Maroon has been bought out, it has been rebranded as Barentz, which is based in the Netherlands. The parent company has the same commitment to sustainability. 

The Ohio EPA partnered with the National Association of Chemical Distributors’ to recognize environmental stewardship in this industry. Maroon was founded in 1977 and supplied specialty additives, specialty resins, specialty pigments, and packaging to more than 2,100 manufacturers. That includes those in the paint and coatings business, and plastics, sealants, and adhesives. It also served the construction, rubber, and chemical compounders industry. 

“Maroon has strategically placed warehouse facilities throughout the country which allows them to provide next-day delivery service to 65% of North America’s industrial manufacturers reducing transportation and handling needs and the associated environmental impacts associated with these activities,” says Ohio’s EPA. The structure allows for same-day deliveries and minimal carbon footprints. 

‘Maroon is Green’ 

When the company was known as Maroon, it completed several sustainability programs — everything from recycling to energy efficiency to pollution prevention. In all cases, team members are on board. That includes everyone from the execs writing the checks to folks on the floor. 

Part of that is the act of charity — to encourage staff to work in the local community to promote environmental stewardship. That could be planting trees, sharing recycling successes, and picking up trash off the streets. And the company recognizes those workers that go above and beyond. 

For example, the recycling program extends beyond creating separate containers for bottles and aluminum cans. It means reusing all cardboard materials that separate or wrap products to protect them during transportation. Reusing wood pallets and bracing materials is also completed and wood from container shipments is reused for bracing on future shipments, the company says. 

“Separate recycling and waste dumpsters are used for corrugated cardboard and plastics to increase recycling.  In addition, printer paper, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and printer cartridges are recycled,” the Ohio EPA says. 

The company also takes steps to reduce its energy usage. How? Motion sensors have been installed at all offices and warehouses — things that detect if anyone enters a room. When they leave the lights to turn off automatically. And skylights have been installed when possible to increase the amount of daylight and discourage the use of electricity. Programmable thermostats are also used in all offices and warehouses. Timers are used to reduce temperatures at night when no one is in the building. Finally, electric lift equipment uses rechargeable batteries. 

Safety and pollution controls are also paramount. Those programs focus on handling and containment procedures to prevent chemical spills. The company says that three 15,000-gallon containment rooms with no floor drains are used to provide full containment of materials being handled.  No containers over 300 gallons are stored in this area.

Meanwhile, it adds that water flow on the property goes to a retention basin before entering the city sewer system so that any contaminants can be stopped prior to entering sewers. Importantly, the facility is registered with a 24-hour emergency spill cleanup company.

“We take our responsibilities to our customers, communities, and employees seriously. We look forward to continuing to grow our ESG programs in 2022 and beyond,” Scott Simmons, Barentz’ Global Director of Environmental, Social and Governance program.

The company will review how much energy it consumes and how many emissions it releases. At the same time, the chemical maker will also examine the policies of the companies within its supply chain. 

Barentz says that if the enterprises are working together, they can achieve more than those doing so in isolation. To this end, it says that it will verify suppliers’ adherence to the principles it lays out. The goal is to get everyone rowing in the same direction — not to call out any single entity. Barentz says it will work to close any gaps in policy. 

What can chemical makers do to become eco-friendly? 

The sector is tasked with preserving the air, water, and soil. It is also challenged with getting rid of industrial wastewater, limiting its use of natural resources, and becoming more energy efficient. In a piece penned for ReAgent, Lucy Bell-Young writes that chemical makers are therefore perpetually trying to balance the need to limit their eco-footprint with optimal production. Some steps to take: 

— reduce the temperature of the stream before it is released into the air, 

— dispose of waste products that are hazardous in carefully sealed containers and in specially marked dumpsters, 

— rely more on renewables to run the operations — especially because the chemical sector uses a lot of metals, minerals, and hydrocarbons. The need is underscored as the demand for chemicals goes up and renewable prices fall.

“Using renewable energy and enforcing controlled, regulated processes that consume less power can help optimize energy use and lessen the impact on the environment,” says Bell-Young. That could mean either building localized renewable energy projects onsite or entering into contractual power purchase agreements. Furthermore, any by-products could be reused or recycled instead of going to waste” — a move that helps the company’s bottom line. 

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