Here at ProtoCAM, we’re always looking for ways to better help our environment by utilizing recycling, responsibly disposing of those materials which aren’t recyclable, and more. We recently launched an environmental initiatives program in order to better gather ideas for how to make our facility more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
With our environmental initiatives program, ProtoCAM regularly researches and gathers new ideas for how to better facilitate green initiatives within our company, both on a smaller-scale basis in everyday office decisions, and within larger-scale facility-wide actions. Some of our upcoming initiatives for 2021 include:
- Regular training sessions on various environmental topics
– More environmentally friendly choices in everyday life (i.e., choosing to buy recyclable/reusable/bulk products; benefits of choosing natural power sources; how to reduce carbon footprints; energy and fuel consumption; environmental impact of single-use plastic, etc.)
– See It, Own It, Do It (i.e., see something is wrong/could be more environmentally friendly, speak up, do something about it)
– Recycling education & review for all staff (i.e., what can and can’t be recycled within our facility; how to prepare items for recycling; different kinds of plastic material that is recyclable, etc.)
– Training on composting and gardening
– And more!
- Annual Arbor Day planting for a better world
– We will grow and distribute trees/plants to all employees and staff to plant at home and in our community to encourage giving back to the Earth
- Annual “Clean up the World” Volunteer Event
– Every third weekend in September we will celebrate Clean Up the World Weekend by choosing one larger-scale local environmental impact event to participate within (i.e., cleaning up litter, planting trees, etc.)
We will be continuously working to revise and add to these environmental initiatives, and we look forward to sharing our efforts in our community and wider environment with our valued customers.
Our current and continuous environmental efforts within our facility are also significant; we recently implemented a 90% electronic quote-to-invoice practice, all but eliminating the need for folders and printed papers in this instance. We are additionally requesting that all customers utilize email for billing if possible in order to avoid the waste associated with physical envelopes, paper, and stamps, as well as to reduce the emissions produced in mail transportation.
We’re ISO 9001:2015 certified, which means we regularly analyze and implement changes to procedures and utilize our quality manual in order to meet our customers’ ever-evolving requirements. At ProtoCAM, all our operations are standardized in order to comply with ISO 9001:2015 standards. We regularly perform company-wide training and ensure proper maintenance of all procedures in our quality manual. Our commitment to continuous improvement means we’re also always looking for ways to make our facility more environmentally friendly, as well as regularly revising our current methods to reduce waste and the errors that can cause them.
At our certified Safety Committee meetings, we’re always looking for ways to better recycle the materials we use every day, as we’re aware of the impact of our manufacturing processes on the environment. The purpose of a safety committee is to bring workers and managers together to achieve and maintain a safe and healthful workplace in all capacities. Effective workplace safety committees are a proven tool in reducing workplace injuries and illnesses, as well as producing significant reduction to loss (of time, materials, money) for employers.
We are continuously expanding our efforts to work with local university programs to discuss options for used material recycling/reusing, as well as to assist in their educational initiatives regarding 3D printing and additive manufacturing both inside and out of our facility.
We use ExpandOS, a loose fill packing material, in packaging our products to send out to customers. Expandos are made from post-industrial waste (excess material from the beverage carton manufacturing process) and are indefinitely reusable and recyclable after use. We also offer local delivery and pick-up options to reduce our shipping carbon footprint.
We exercise responsible disposal of excess materials used in the PolyJet printing process by returning empty resin cartridges and spools and having a certified waste disposal provider remove uncured, liquid Polyjet model materials from our facility and properly dispose of them. Used stereolithography materials are also responsible disposed of, Fused Deposition Modeling spools are sent back to the manufacturer for recycling, and other thermoplastics are properly recycled.
Our Multi Jet Fusion printing technology utilizes recycling directly within the printer system; used but unfused powder is recycled and reused. As it is pulled through the system, the used powder merges with fresh powder, blending to produce a 20% new material to 80% recycled material product that is utilized in every subsequent build.
We’re continuously searching for ways to better improve our practices and help to create a healthier environment in the future. Some other assorted environmental actions we’ve implemented around our facility and office include:
- Recycle plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and other recyclable food materials
- Recycle used office materials where possible
- Water filter in break room to reduce bottled water usage
- Added plants to office to help filter air and encourage care of plants
- Have timed lighting to ensure lights turn off when not in use
- Paper printer is set to default print two-sided (saves paper)
- Purchase second-hand machinery to reduce waste of energy/parts
- Send digital marketing campaigns primarily rather than paper
- Reduced paper use because of COVID-19 work-from-home initiative
- Reduced paper use upon implementation of of Instant Quoting Platform
As we continue to work towards creating more sustainable solutions through recycling leftover materials from our 3D printing systems and additive manufacturing processes, we remain always aware of our impact on the environment as a manufacturer. To learn more about our environmental efforts throughout the years, as well as the evolution of how the additive manufacturing industry has assisted with environmental initiatives, check out the below links.