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Environmental Health and Safety

Protecting our social and physical environment is one of 3M’s core values. At 3M Decatur, we achieve this through our commitment to proactive environmental management.

Managing Our Environmental Footprint

Environmental Health and Safety Management System

3M Decatur’s EHS Management System promotes sound environmental management. It helps us to manage the environmental footprint of our operations, drive sustainable growth, and address the expectations of our stakeholders. These stakeholders include our employees, customers, regulators, environmental groups, and the communities surrounding our plant.

Our EHS Management System:
  • Includes an integrated, holistic system that anticipates and addresses long-term issues and drives continuous improvement.
  • Promotes a strategic planning process that integrates EHS issues into business planning.
  • Includes a process for identifying issues, developing formal action plans, setting goals and measuring results.

Pollution Prevention

3M pioneered the concept of pollution prevention with the creation of the pollution prevention pays (3P) program in 1975. The 3P program is based on the reality that pollution prevention is more environmentally effective, technically sound and economical than conventional pollution control equipment. Natural resources, energy and money are used to build conventional pollution controls, and more resources are consumed operating them. Conventional controls are temporarily and do not eliminate the problem. 3P seeks to eliminate pollution at the source through product reformulation, process modification, equipment redesign, and the recycling and reuse of waste materials.

3P is a key element of 3M Decatur’s environmental strategy. Since 1977, 3M Decatur has completed more than 185 3P projects which prevented more than 42,000 tons of waste in the first year of the projects.

Key Environmental Accomplishments

We are particularly proud of our work around the following:

  • Installed various wastewater expansions during the 90’s totaling $28 million that has improved wastewater treatment removal percentage from 92% to 98% (75% reduction).
  • Registered to the ISO14001 environmental international standard in 2000, the 2nd company in Decatur and 11th within 3M to do so.
  • Reduced emissions of criteria pollutants by over 50% during the last ten years.
  • Reduced poundage of waste discharges of EPA’s SARA 313 chemicals by 92% since early 90’s.
  • Reduced the reportable number of EPA’s SARA’s 313 chemicals from 40 to 24 at site since early 90’s.
  • Obtained Wildlife Habitat Certification and 2004 Rookie of the Year thru the WHC for site wildlife habitat enhancement projects.
  • Accepted for membership with EPA’s National Environmental Performance Track Program.
  • Winner of Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s Director’s Award for Pollution Prevention in 2001 and 2003.
  • Founding and active partner in Morgan County’s Household Chemical Collection Program that started in 1995.
  • Have received six 3M Chairman’s Leadership Awards for Environmental Programs over the last 10 years.
  • Contributed funds and participated in the North Alabama Birding Trail and the Tennessee River Migratory Bird Program.
  • Worked with corporate groups to help obtain $1.5 million dollar grant to the Alabama Chapter of the Nature Conservancy for the Paint Rock River Restoration and Preservation Program.

Key Safety and Health Accomplishments

  • Completed more than 12 years of behavior based safety.
  • Accepted as an OSHA VPP Star (both Materials and Film plant received the designation independently – 2005.
  • Registered to the American Chemistry Council Responsible Care RC14001 Standard – 2006.
  • Recognized by Manufacture Alabama on an annual basis for low incident rates in the respective industries Standard Industrial Classification Code.

3M Sustainability Website


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