Celebrating Sustainable Manufacturing on Earth Day 2017
On Earth Day 2017, Plug Power is redoubling efforts the company is taking to ensure the “green” of fuel cells extends beyond the customer facility. Keeping up with the Plug Power reputation, a cross-functional team has recently gone back to the drawing board to again ensure we’re looking at new ways to enhance sustainable manufacturing across all product lines.
What exactly is sustainable manufacturing?
“Sustainable manufacturing is the creation of manufactured products through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources.”1
Plug Power is approaching the exercise by looking at our products from two angles.
Before our products ever reach our customers, our engineering team is discussing:
- Universal components to span multiple product lines, that allow us to scale and simplify our recycling efforts;
- Evaluating and increasing opportunities to use recycled materials (such as metals and plastics);
- Adding labels to parts to identify the material (typically plastics) for end of life recycling.
Regarding end of life products, we’re looking to improve upon already set measures to:
- Identify materials for proper disposal/recycling;
- Track and recycle potentially unsustainable parts such as Lithium ion batteries
Additionally, we see our sustainable manufacturing and recycling efforts as important to the world, but also recognize the impact these positive behaviors have on our costs.
“Plug Power has a responsibility to operate and manufacture with sustainability in mind,” said Dustan Skidmore, VP of engineering at Plug Power. “We will continue to strive to make our products as environmentally friendly when they are recycled as they are when in use.”
The world of sustainable manufacturing continues to improve, as new practices, discovery and disposal methods are made available. For Plug Power, it remains critical to our culture that we remain at the forefront of changing the way the world moves, in a sustainable fashion.