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Ohio EPA Director Presents Gold Level Environmental Excellence Award to Kent Elastomer
Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler visited Kent Elastomer in Kent today to recognize the company for reaching the highest standard of environmental stewardship. He presented the company with the gold-level award in Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (Ɛ3) program.
Kent Elastomer has been in business for 55 years and employs 30 hourly workers at its Kent plant which manufactures custom dip-molded natural rubber latex and non-latex products for use in the medical, dental, food/beverage, sports/recreation, laboratory and industrial markets.
“Kent Elastomer sets an example to which other companies can aspire and their team continuously looks for ways to reduce waste and conserve natural resources,” said Director Butler. “This company shows that being environmentally responsible is good for the economy and part of being a good corporate citizen. We hope others will follow their lead and go above and beyond the requirements of environmental regulations to make Ohio a better place to live and work.”
“To be honored with two Ohio EPA Encouraging Environmental Excellence Gold Awards for our Kent and Winesburg facilities makes us incredibly proud,” Kent Elastomer President Bob Oborn said. “What we achieved in terms of minimizing waste and reducing energy consumption required a focused effort by everyone in our organization and certainly did not happen overnight. These awards speak volumes about what can be gained from dedication to a common and very worthwhile goal.”
The Ɛ3 program acknowledges Ohio businesses and other organizations for completing environmentally beneficial activities and serves as an incentive to commit to ongoing environmental stewardship. To earn the gold-level award, a business or organization must have a good environmental compliance record and complete environmental stewardship activities that show a strong corporate environmental ethic.
Kent Elastomer has an ongoing commitment to conserve natural resources and improve processes, following a principal of continuous improvement. Solid waste has been reduced by more than half and the company reduced water usage by 61 percent, electrical use by 20 percent and gas usage by 12 percent since 2007.
The company also has found innovative ways to improve processes by reusing product chill water and purchasing rags from a vendor that repurposes them from used clothing.
Since earning a silver-level award last year, the company has continued to look for ways to be more efficient and have less environmental impact. New projects implemented in the past year include:
- replacing a powerful air compressor with a lower horsepower unit and replacing less efficient tank cooling coils with more efficient plate coils;
- installing equipment that automatically adjusts temperatures rather than changing them manually, yielding a cost savings on gas expenses; and
- replacing outdated lamp fixtures with energy efficient T-8 energy-efficient lighting.
Under the gold-level award, the company will continue to pursue additional environmental improvements. To learn more about the Ɛ3 program, go to www.epa.ohio.gov/ohioe3.aspx or contact the Ohio EPA Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention at 1-800-329-7518.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.