Sustainable Policies

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In addition to a localized focus on social responsibility, our float glass plants are charged with environmental and energy-related responsibilities at the operational level to support our broader mission.
 

Air & Energy

Every Guardian float glass plant in North America has completed a comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions assessment. These reports have been shared with the EPA in accordance with all federal and state regulations, ensuring that we are taking an active role in managing our contribution to climate change.

In addition, we have historically incorporated transportation management practices into our day-to-day business operations to improve efficiencies and environmental stewardship. By partnering with a third-party logistics company, we are able to further maximize freight efficiency and reduce air pollutants and the use of fossil fuels.

To reduce energy consumption, Guardian conducts energy audits regularly at every plant. As a result, myriad tactics have been identified and deployed to maximize conservation—a benefit to the bottom line, as well as the planet. For example, we’ve saved more than six million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually by matching cooling air and water pumping requirements to process demands. In another location, we’ve been able to save more than 250 million cubic feet of natural gas per year with two innovations: capturing hot gases emitted from the production process and using it to heat water; and taking waste gas that is oxygen-rich and circulating it back into our plant furnaces, thereby optimizing the combustion process in the furnaces which reduces overall gas usage.
 

Water Efficiency

To establish a facility baseline for water efficiency, all Guardian float glass plants perform on-site mass balance water inventories. Each plant works to maintain water efficiency during production.

Our manufacturing process requires the use of ultra-pure, deionized water to wash our glass prior to the application of coatings. By “cascading” water from clean operations to successively dirty ones, we have been able to recycle water effectively—an innovation brought to light by one of our plant workers. This conservation system reuses water up to nine times before discharging it, saving 40 gallons of municipal water per minute. This improvement in water efficiency has been implemented system wide.
 

Waste & Hazardous Substances

Manufacturing glass results in little to no hazardous waste. To ensure minimal exposure to waste and hazardous substances and maximum efficiency, each plant manages its own processes. In fact, of the dozens or product lines manufactured in in North America, only mirror results in a minimal amount of hazardous waste, which is disposed of in accordance with all applicable regulations.

In fact, Guardian’s plant in Auburn, Indiana, has been recognized for its waste reduction efforts by WasteWise—a free, voluntary EPA program through which organizations eliminate costly municipal and industrial wastes. Additional Guardian plants are pursuing certification through this valuable program, as well.
 

Recycling Program

Throughout all of Guardian’s plants, recycling systems designed to divert solid waste from landfills and direct it to positive re-use are firmly in place. This includes recycling programs that capture steel copper and “yellow metals” such as scrap wire, along with paper, plastic, wood and cardboard for reuse. At our flagship facility in Carleton, Michigan, 35 percent of all solid waste is recycled which is a 75 percent increase over the last four years.

 

ISO14001

Guardian has eleven plants, worldwide, that are ISO 14001 certified—ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. ISO 14001 certification shows Guardian’s ability to: identify and control the environmental impact of its activities, products and services; continually improve its environmental performance; and implement a systematic approach to setting environmental objectives and targets, to achieving these and to demonstrating that they have been achieved. Guardian is a leading supplier in the auto industry because we have consistently been able to meet the stringent ISO requirements, as well as the high standards associated with providing to products to high-profile auto manufacturers such as Ford and Volvo, to name a few.


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