The environmental award presented Oct. 3 to Fiber Services Inc. and its Evergreen Molding unit of Greenville, S.C., is a good example of the value of thinking ``green.'' The company, with 40 employees, makes custom polyurethane reaction injection molded and cast parts for the health-care, recreation, government and heavy industry markets.
It was looking for a way to reduce waste, which by definition equates to an added business cost. The firm contacted the state's Department of Health and Environmental Consultants to assess its progress and in return, was offered several suggestions.
The suggestions involved replacing a solvent in a parts cleaning process with a nonhazardous product and substituting a multistage, computer-controlled hydrosonic process for a chlorinated agent used in molding to remove oils and contaminants.
Judging the proposals good ideas, the firm adopted them. By replacing the solvent, Fiber Services eliminated the generation of 360 gallons of hazardous waste a year and saved $2,000. A larger savings is expected from the hydrosonic decontamination process. The projects will save the firm $13,500 annually, a spokesman said. For lagniappe, Fiber Services and Evergreen Molding were presented the Governor's Pollution Prevention Award for small-sized businesses. The company understandably is pleased with the official recognition it has received. Fiber Services also is enthused about the cost savings the green effort produced for the business.
The latter point too often is misjudged by small companies faced with the challenge of responding to community concerns about pollution or hazardous waste. Not all prevention programs involve expensive and complicated remedies. Many, as the little-noticed South Carolina example illustrates, are value-added projects for businesses that surface when a fresh set of eyes examine an operation and suggest doing something differently.
People often are reluctant to change the way they do things because the standard practice is familiar and provides them with a sense of security. Fiber Services' success proves the benefit of engaging in different thinking and behavior.