S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. is the latest plastics processor to harness wind power in an effort to reduce the company's carbon footprint. The Racine, Wis.-based consumer products company announced March 13 that it has signed a deal to buy wind-generated power to run its big Ziploc bag and Saran wrap manufacturing plant in Bay City, Mich. The company's news release doesn't mention the word sustainability, but this certainly is part of the trend. S.C. Johnson said the deal, with Spartan Renewable Energy in Michigan, will provide 46 percent of the plant's power, and will reduce its environmental footprint by 29,500 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The amount of energy S.C. Johnson will save is comparable to the electricity needed to supply 1,800 average homes. “In addition to helping accomplish our global renewable energy goal, this initiative further reduces the company's reliance on coal-fired electricity,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of S.C. Johnson. “As a family company, we're committed to exploring innovative technologies that hold the promise of cleaner, more efficient energy. This is a great step for SC Johnson, and for the future generations that will be affected by the environmental choices all of us make today.” S.C. Johnson says it has a "legacy of environmental leadership," and the company's advertising frequently highlights those efforts -- for example, its decision to remove chlorofluorocarbons from its aerosol products three years ahead of the 1978 U.S. mandate. So don't be surprised if the company features its wind-powered plastics film operations in a future TV ad. (Interestingly enough, another apparently environmentally related move -- to stop using Saran polyvinylidene chloride resins to make Saran wrap -- has never been a featured topic in those advertisements. Perhaps it's too confusing, or maybe they don't want to highlight a change that some consumers might believe hurt the quality of the product.) Will using more wind power make a difference with consumers? Will they pay a premium for plastic wrap and storage bags made with "sustainable" energy? I think they might. These types of moves certainly give the company a higher profile and a boost to its reputation, which can help with issues like employee recruitment.
Making film with wind power
Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you'd like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at [email protected]