Our Environmental Sustainability Program
Finger Lakes Extrusion has always been focused on “doing our part” to help protect the environment. In October of 2011, we bought a building and moved our business to Canandaigua, New York. Owning our building versus renting it has really allowed us to make a larger positive impact on the environment. We believe that responsible business practices are crucial to the long-term success of our company, our employees, our business partners, and the community in which we operate.
Small Steps Make a Big Difference
Finger Lakes Extrusion is located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, a beautiful rural area with many lakes, mountains and an abundance of wildlife. Our responsibility as a company operating in this region gets us involved with the watershed authority and their efforts to keep the water in our area safe for animals and humans alike. We also understand the global perception of plastics and its importance to our industry. As a result, management has volunteered time as part of the IAPD’s Environmental Committee to help wherever possible in changing the perception of plastics as well as educating people on how to recycle most effectively.
In our new building, the roof was in poor shape and was losing us heat. We had it completely overhauled to keep heat in during the winter and stay cooler in the summer as well. We also changed all the florescent lighting to LED lighting on motion sensors to reduce the amount of energy we use during our hours of operation. With the addition of an electric forklift, we have reduced the amount of propane we need to run our fleet of forklifts by one third.
After moving to our new location we made the decision to rotate our chiller water less frequently to conserve water. We reduced our change overs from weekly to monthly, thus saving 1200 gallons of water per month! To maintain adequate water quality for our tubing over a longer period of time we installed black lights and added chlorine to kill bacteria.
Finger Lakes Extrusion focuses on reusing before we discard. Once we have exhausted our resources to reuse old material or production reworks, we then call in the professionals to dispose of these. Items like light bulbs, ink spills/soiled rags and such we have experts come in and properly handle and take off of our property. We only generate 200 lbs of material annually that must be disposed of through an environmental agency and we aim to decrease that number each year.
Finger Lakes Extrusion commits to becoming the standard for businesses by establishing and implementing a sustainability plan that:
- Reduces waste and pollution
- Protects our waterways
- Optimizes the use of energy and materials
- Invests in our community
We will follow this plan in a transparent and measurable way in an effort to collectively reduce the severity of global climate change.
Finger Lakes Extrusion employees certainly understand our push to recycle and reuse. They are very motivated by the quarterly bonus incentive and over time recycling has become second nature to them. Employees are offered a reusable water bottle they can fill up at any one of our many water filtration stations in our plant, and an E-waste station for any and all electronic waste they have to recycle. We also support worldwide initiatives to use environmentally and socially sustainable sound materials. Finger Lakes Extrusion’s products comply with CONEG and do not intentionally add any conflict minerals. Most recently we have converted our plant to all non-phthalate products. This upgrade allows us to provide Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) and Proposition 65 compliant materials, further showing our commitment to a healthy world. Finger Lakes Extrusion will continue our corporate culture of environmental responsibility in the years to come and always aim to be better than we were the year before.
Sustainable Activities, Awards and Acknowledgments
As a third year recipient for the IAPD Environmental Award (Bronze in 2016 & 2017, Gold in 2018), we are very excited to announce that we have installed a 556 kW solar array that will produce 80% of our energy needs! Although we have made many significant changes since we purchased our facility, this is by far the most exciting for us. Electricity has always been one our largest fixed costs and this system will almost wipe that out. Below is an outline of all of the other improvements that we have made to our facility:
New T5 energy efficient lights were installed throughout the entire 55,000 square foot facility along with motion sensors in the warehouse and in the offices. Seven new high efficiency HVAC units were also installed. Over the course of the past five years, we have transitioned our extruders from D/C motors and drives to new energy efficient A/C motors and drives. These energy efficient changes allowed us to decrease our energy consumption by about 100,000 kWh’s per year. New roofs have been installed on 100% of the building. This investment has increased our R-value from 1 to 25 helping to reduce the need for heat in the winter and keeping us cooler in the summer. Any employee of a plastics plant can appreciate that!
Solar Array Install Overview
In 2018 Finger Lakes Extrusion installed a large scale solar array. The 1634 panel system is on both the roof and grounds of the company’s 5 acre facility. Annually this system will offset 80% of the electric usage demanded by our operations. Electric is one of the largest overhead costs incurred by Finger Lakes Extrusion as all of our production equipment is powered this way. Not only is it very exciting to minimize a production cost, but Finger Lakes Extrusion is proud to reduce their carbon foot print as well. A TV screen in the facility will display the current energy generation, cumulative production among other data points for employees and customers alike to view.