GAFFNEY, S.C. — Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC), is the first chassis manufacturer and first company within the trucking industry to achieve zero waste to landfill status in the United States.
Joining an elite group of solid waste-free manufacturing facilities in the United States, FCCC went from disposing 250,000 pounds per month of solid waste in January 2007 to disposing zero pounds today as a result of numerous environmental efforts implemented at the FCCC facility.
“Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation easily surpassed our corporate goal by realizing Zero Waste to Landfill status three months earlier than our original January 2010 target date,” said Roger Nielsen, chief operating officer of Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA), FCCC’s parent company. “FCCC was able to achieve these results by the continued efforts and diligence of all employees within the company, and we continue to seek ways to reduce our environmental impact in our facility and through our products and alternative-fuel efforts.”
The Zero Waste to Landfill directive was initiated by Daimler AG to reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing facilities under the Daimler umbrella. FCCC’s manufacturing facility was chosen as the pilot site for the Zero Waste to Landfill program in September 2007 by DTNA. The goal of the program was for the FCCC facility to become 100 percent landfill waste-free by 2010.
Nielsen said efforts undertaken by FCCC will be used as an environmental blueprint to be implemented into other DTNA facilities striving toward Zero Waste to Landfill status. Recognized by numerous governmental agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the FCCC facility recycles materials such as plastic, paper, aluminum, cardboard, metals, wood and nylon. FCCC is committed to not only reducing its environmental footprint with clean manufacturing efforts, but also to developing products that are green.
The company’s commitment to clean air technologies is aligned with Daimler’s global initiative called “Shaping Future Transportation.” Launched in November 2007 in Stuttgart, Germany, the initiative is focused on reducing category emissions pollutants, carbon dioxide and fuel consumption.
Green Team Focuses on Success
Three months after FCCC was selected to be the pilot facility for the Zero Waste to Landfill initiative, the company developed a “Green Team,” including employees who were committed to reducing the overall carbon footprint within the company and community.
The FCCC Green Team was integral to the success of the program, keeping the corporate goal of waste-free status in mind while implementing and improving recycling programs and communicating these efforts and accomplishments other employees.
“I’d like to recognize the Green Team for its commitment to the Zero Waste to Landfill program,” said Bob Harbin, president of FCCC. “It’s the team’s tenaciousness and foresight that enabled our company as a whole to work toward a healthier environment and a cleaner community. We knew being selected as the pilot facility for DTNA was going to set the bar for other DTNA brands. We accepted the challenge, and achieved the desired results in an even shorter timeframe than we imagined. I’m greatly impressed by our Green Team, our other employees and the culture change that has taken place at FCCC.”
The Zero Waste to Landfill program, along with the Green Team, served as the catalyst to change the company mindset, as well as influence the clean environmental vision of FCCC employees, suppliers, vendors and the surrounding community. The team visited a zero-waste Subaru plant in Indiana in 2008 to review its waste reduction program, and helped implement current recycling programs at the FCCC facility. The team also encouraged suppliers and vendors to use returnable and recyclable packaging, and worked to identify inefficiencies in the facility such as air leaks and overages in electricity and water usage.
To promote internal awareness and a standardized labeling method to easily identify and separate waste materials for recycling, the Green Team developed the Environmental Team SharePoint portal on the company’s Intranet site. This portal provided all employees with access to information to simplify recycling efforts and progress updates on Zero Waste to Landfill efforts. The Green Team also was instrumental in developing key community and environmental partnerships.
Partnerships Help Evolve Environmental Responsibility
In March 2008, just six months after being selected as the pilot site, the FCCC plant was recognized by the EPA’s WasteWise Program for its 2007 waste reduction achievement and was accepted as a WasteWise partner. WasteWise engages government, businesses and nonprofit organizations to educate others about the benefits of reducing solid waste. FCCC also was accepted into the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program (SCEEP) in February 2009. SCEEP is a voluntary initiative designed to recognize and reward South Carolina facilities that have demonstrated environmental performance through pollution prevention, energy and resource conservation and the use of an environmental management system.
“FCCC is proud to be associated with the EPA and various local and regional organizations with whom we work with on our environmental efforts,” said Bill Harris, environmental health and safety supervisor for FCCC. “These valuable partnerships have helped us to achieve these outstanding results.”
FCCC Recognized for Environmental Efforts
As the Zero Waste to Landfill program continued to reduce waste, FCCC began to be recognized for its efforts. In October 2008, FCCC was awarded the 2008 Employer Contract of the Year by the Gaffney Vocational Rehabilitation Center, a division of the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department. FCCC received the award for its efforts to work with the center’s job readiness program. The state department serves people who want to work but are hindered from doing so because of a physical or mental disability. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) also recognized FCCC for its environmental and sustainability efforts during the inaugural S.C. Smart Business Recycling Program award luncheon in April 2009.
“We’ve achieved impressive results, and we’re proud to be recognized by our colleagues and peers in the region for our efforts,” Harbin said.
Environmentally Conscious Manufacturing and Product Offerings
The Zero Waste to Landfill initiative is also in line with FCCC’s alternatively fueled chassis models. As a premium chassis manufacturer, FCCC was the first to market hybrid-electric chassis for the commercial vehicle market. In March 2009, FCCC introduced the newest member of its robust alternative-fuel chassis – the hydraulic hybrid, built on the MT-55 walk-in van chassis. FCCC also manufactures compressed natural gas (CNG) commercial vehicle chassis and hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) chassis to the walk-in van market segment.
These alternative-fuel vehicles have proven to have significant fuel savings benefits. And in 2008, FCCC introduced ecoFRED, the motorhome industry’s first-ever hybrid-electric chassis, and the MB-HEV hybrid-electric commercial bus chassis. These two alternative-fuel chassis were introduced in response to a growing customer demand for alternative-fuel power that provides the same excellent performance and durability as FCCC’s premium diesel-powered chassis.
“We are committed to becoming a green company, whether it’s through our products or the waste reduction and recycling efforts at our manufacturing facility,” Harbin said. “We will remain at the forefront of developing new technology that is based upon our core benefits of superior performance and maximum efficiency, while also decreasing environmental impact, focusing on clean air technologies.”
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation manufactures premium chassis for the motor-home, delivery walk-in van, and school bus and shuttle bus markets. Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.
For more information, visit www.freightlinerchassis.com.