Anyone who does a DIY project around their house likely has some paint left over. The same is true for automotive refinishers, home contractors and other paint and coatings producers. The question is what to do with the extra paint.
As a leading paint and coatings manufacturer, PPG understands the importance of being environmentally responsible and sustainable. In May 2022, the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council (OCTC) honored five PPG plants for programs that are advancing sustainability, health and safety.
One of the awards went to PPG’s Cleveland, OH manufacturing operations, which was honored for its new paint recycling process. The Cleveland site has recycled more than 190,000 gallons of paint.
Mike Corcoran, PPG’s global manager, operational sustainability, noted that the Cleveland facility is PPG’s flagship manufacturing facility for automotive OEM coatings, with approximately 230 employees. Situated in the city's West Park area, the plant has been an integral part of PPG since its acquisition in 1947 from the Forbes Varnish Company, which began operations in 1907.
In addition to using advanced manufacturing methods to produce and ship its products, the Cleveland facility is the site of a field service laboratory equipped with the same application and curing equipment used by its customers.
To date, the Cleveland PPG site has prevented more than 190,000 gallons of paint from becoming waste. This allows PPG able to reuse the paint for its production.
“A new paint recycling process at the Cleveland facility used a continuous improvement methodology that allows the site to collect leftover paint at the end of production and repurpose it as a raw material for the next batch,” Corcoran said. “Since the improvement was implemented, the site has prevented more than 190,000 gallons (719,230 liters) of paint from becoming waste.”
Corcoran said that the Cleveland’s recycling operations fits perfectly into PPG’s sustainability program.
“The more efficient we are in using materials to make our products, the less waste we produce, the fewer resources we consume and the more sustainable our operations,” said Corcoran. “That is why we first work toward absolute material utilization throughout our manufacturing processes, followed by eliminating, minimizing, reusing and recycling the waste materials we do produce.
“We employ waste mapping to track waste streams back to their sources in our facilities worldwide,” Corcoran said. “Using lean manufacturing methodologies, each facility eliminates or minimizes the identified wastes one source at a time, typically starting with the highest-volume or highest-cost waste stream identified through the mapping process. We explore reuse and recycling options for wastes that remain.
It's been a major success for PPG, which has made major strides in its sustainability efforts.
“We’ve surpassed our 2025 sustainability goal to achieve a 25% decline in waste disposal intensity versus the 2017 baseline – we achieved a 37.5% reduction in 2021,” he added. “In addition, last year we achieved 40% of our manufacturing and R&D facilities with zero process waste to landfill, above our 35% target by 2025.”