Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
By Kathy Thompson
Crown lauded for environmental excellence
New Knoxville plant the first facility in Ohio to receive EPA gold rating
  NEW KNOXVILLE - Crown Equipment Corp.'s New Knoxville plant on Tuesday received Ohio's first-ever gold-level award for Encouraging Environmental Excellence.
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler said Crown has continually set the bar high for companies that strive to exceed regulatory compliance obligations and commit to long-term strategies to reduce waste, lower emissions and improve environmental performances.
"This company builds into their entire management structure from a compliance floor that doesn't reach a ceiling," Butler said after a formal presentation at the Crown plant. "They don't view it as just a duty, but as a way of business and a way of partnering with the rest of the world. What better day to give them an award but on Earth Day."
Earth Day is celebrated nationally every April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
To achieve the gold-level award, a company must demonstrate that it can pass a comprehensive compliance check, implement and maintain an environmental management system and commit to continuous environmental improvement.
Silver and bronze awards were distributed in 2013 to numerous Ohio businesses.   The program - known as E3 - targets companies that reduce waste, improve efficiency and work to continuously improve as an environmental steward, according to Dina Pierce, spokeswoman for Ohio EPA.
Jim Dicke III, president of Crown Equipment, said his company's commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability began decades ago.
"We use both sustainable and sensible approaches," he told the crowd, which included Ohio EPA representatives, Auglaize County commissioners Doug Spencer and Don Regula, and New Knoxville Mayor Keith Leffel. "We make a conscious effort to improve the environment and benefit our customers."
Those efforts include lessening waste, managing energy and maximizing the lifespan of products such as forklifts, Dicke said.
The 1,400-square-foot plant in New Knoxville, which has 150 employees, has maintained since 2009 a "zero landfill" status - no trash is sent to landfills. The plant also has made energy efficiency improvements, including compressed air use reduction, re-engineering blow off guns and lighting upgrades, and turning off equipment when not in use.
The company replaced five hydraulic/electrical injection mold machines with four energy-efficient models, implemented a recycling program, switched from solvent-based resins to water-based resins, replaced lighting that saves 170,000 kilowatts a year, and initiated a parts repair program for its forklifts.
"We've also reduced our water usage by 20,000 gallons a month," Dicke said. "With that we could give seven glasses of water to every resident in Auglaize County. That's a lot of water. Green is not just a word to us; it's the way we do business."
Butler said Crown has been "embracing with not just works, but spirit," and it has impacted not just Auglaize County but the entire world.
"When 99 percent of your equipment can be recycled, that's a clean environment," Butler said. "This company is dedicated to its environmental practices."
Spencer said Crown, the leading employer in Auglaize County, is making an impact.
"To say you're from Auglaize County with an award winning and innovative company like Crown, well that's something to be proud of," Spencer said. "It's no surprise they got this award."
Crown in the next year will replace all of its existing injection molding machines with more energy efficient models and further reduce water usage by updating restrooms and sink faucets throughout the facility, officials said.
Crown is headquartered in New Bremen and is the manufacturer of forklifts and fleet management technologies. The company also has plants in Australia, China, Germany and Singapore.
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