Environmental Stewardship

 

Zero to Waste Accomplishments in Ecuador

 
In 2016, the Sherwin-Williams plant in Ecuador achieved a new milestone in its sustainability efforts: sending only two percent of non-hazardous waste to landfills. With nearly 67,000 square meters of plant space dedicated to producing paint, resin and thinners, achieving results of this magnitude required creative thinking, new processes — and a commitment to recycling from all 320 employees.

“Our workers have really internalized the company’s Zero to Landfill (ZTL) initiative,” says EHS Manager Santiago Oña. “Both plant-wide and within their personal lives, employees are engaged and look for ways to contribute to our sustainability efforts.” This commitment has helped the plant implement several programs over the last three years that have dramatically reduced its waste from 700,000 lbs. in 2014 to 44,000 in 2016.

One key project included the fabrication of non-hazardous material into concrete blocks — blocks that were then used within the plant. Another initiative encouraged employees to think about recycling in new ways via a World Recycling Day event held at the plant. Local artisans presented crafts made using plastic bottles, paper and more. “An event like this really increased everyone’s awareness level on environmental care,” says Santiago.

It also led to other sustainability programs, including an EHS day in November, where employees helped plant 45 trees around the facility, and learned how their efforts were helping the plant reduce its carbon footprint. In 2016 alone, continuous improvement initiatives like these resulted in nearly half a million dollars in cost savings.

“In Ecuador, we are a role model for other companies, and the local council often applauds our efforts. It’s very gratifying to know that we are doing the right thing,” says Santiago.