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Environmental Health and Safety

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

Managing Our Environmental Footprint

Environmental Health and Safety Management System

3M New Ulm 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 temporary 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 New Ulm environmental strategy. Since 1980, we have completed 90 3P projects which prevented more than 143 tons of air pollution, .65 tons of water pollution, and 3,204 tons of waste and saved more than $5.5 Million in the first year of the projects. Additionally, these projects avoided energy usage totaling 413,861 MMBTU's. Generation of 1,244 metric tons of green house gases was avoided.

Key Environmental Accomplishments
We are particularly proud of our work around the following:

  • 3M New Ulm has been certified and registered to the ISO 14001 standard since 2000.
  • 3M New Ulm was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a charter member in the National Environmental Performance Track for commitment to sound environmental management, continuous improvement, public outreach, and sustained environmental compliance. Although the federal government has now discontinued this program, our plant still abides by the Performance Track principles.
  • 3M New Ulm was recognized by 3M Corporate for exemplary results in energy saving projects with the following prestigious 3M awards:
    • In 2004, received the 3M Corporate Silver Level Award for reducing energy use per pound of product by 12.6%
    • In 2007, received the 3M Corporate Platinum Level Award for reducing energy use per pound of product by 14.13%
    • In 2008, received the 3M Corporate Platinum Level Award for reducing energy use per pound of product by 11%
    • In 2009, received the 3M Corporate Platinum Level Award for reducing energy use per pound of product by 7%
    • In 2010, received the 3M Corporate Silver Level Award for site practices that control and reduce energy consumption
  • 3M New Ulm has a strong history of employee involvement in environmental stewardship through its River Restoration Action Team (3M River RAT's.) The team’s focus is on projects that improve the water quality of the Minnesota River. Some of the team’s accomplishments include:
    • Co-Sponsoring of annual spring community clean-ups of debris near storm sewers throughout the city. This reduces the amount of phosphorus in the Minnesota River.
    • Recognition by the MPCA for completion of a Minnesota River restoration project near Belle Plaine that involved the removal of: 52 semi-loads of scrap steel, 26 semi-loads of solid waste & 3 semi-loads of demolition debris - totaling more than 700 tons of scrap removed. A follow-up work day happened October 3, 2009.

3M New Ulm Environmental Policy Statement:
We will continue to recognize and exercise our responsibility to:

  • Solve our own environmental and conservation problems.
  • Develop products that support a sustainable environment.
  • Prevent pollution at the source wherever and whenever possible.
  • Conserve natural resources through the use of optimized manufacturing operations, reclamation and other appropriate methods.
  • Assure that our facilities and products are in compliance with applicable national, regional and local environmental requirements, and in conformance with other applicable environmental obligations.
  • Assist, wherever possible, governmental agencies and other official organizations engaged in environmental activities.
  • Foster continual improvement through company and employee initiative.


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