One of our highest priorities is reducing volatile organic air emissions and making air emissions a priority has paid off: We have reduced pounds of volatile organic air emissions indexed to net sales by 98% since 1990. Our global operations emitted 13 million pounds (less than 6 million kilograms) of volatile organic air emissions in 2011 compared with 255 million pounds (115.6 million kilograms) in 1990.
We’ve achieved these dramatic reductions in air emissions through development of solventless technologies, pollution prevention programs, and the use of pollution control equipment.
Recent Air Emissions Reductions
Reduction of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
By using coating reformulations and equipment modifications, our facility in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, cut VOCs and other air emissions by 90%, thereby eliminating the need to use pollution prevention equipment. That, in turn, resulted in a savings of 550 tons of greenhouse gases annually.
Solvent-Free Coating Technology
Our Fairmont, Minnesota, facility has been manufacturing 3M™ Scotchmate™ Hook and Loop products since 1972. Historically, these products have been coated with pressure-sensitive adhesives releasing VOCs. However, 3M Fairmont recently installed a new solvent-free coating technology. This change resulted in the elimination of 50 tons of air emissions and 1.5 tons of hazardous waste per year.
Reformulation of Adhesives
Scotch-Brite™ Dry Wipes™ have a unique 3-D texture design with an adhesive in the recessed areas that allows the wipes to pick up more fine particles than similar products. Our Home Care researchers reformulated the adhesive used in the wipes to eliminate more than 12,000 pounds of air emissions during the first year of wipe manufacturing—without compromising product performance.