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  • Air Emissions

    Air Emissions Intro

    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.

    Volatile Air Emissions (VOCs) 

    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.

    90% Reduction of Greenhouse Gases

    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.

    50 ton Reduction of Hazardous Waste

    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.

    12,000 pound Reduction of Air Emissions

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    3M™ Fastbond™ Contact Adhesive 30NFM

    3M Fastbond Contact Adhesive

    This product is GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified®.

    Learn more about 3M™ Fastbond™ Contact Adhesive 30NF

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    3M™ PPS™ Paint Preparation System

    3M PPS Paint Preperation System

    Eliminating the need for mixing cups and filters, the 3M™ PPS™ Paint Preparation System reduces the need for cleaning solvents by as much as 70% and there is also less wasted paint.

    Learn more about PPS™ Paint Preparation System



    A look back at significant milestones from 3M’s rich sustainability legacy.


    Product Spotlight

    Product Spotlights

    3M’s propensity to innovate is our most effective way to promote change.

    Sustainable projects.

    Making a Difference

    Making a Difference

    3M has a commitment to connecting with people—our most valuable resource.

    Community works.

    Goals and Progress

    Goals and Progress

    3M reveals its targets and performance metrics for sustainability.

    Dashboard of data.