published Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Galvanizing company reduces all hazardous waste


by Brittany Cofer
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    Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press Tennessee Galvanizing worker Paul Fredrick connects a pole used to hold the bags of ferrous sulfate produced by the acid recovery system machine. Before the company purchased the acid recovery system machine, it produced more than 4.6 million pounds of hazardous material each year.

* What: Processes that eliminate 100 percent of hazardous waste from the galvanizing process, which involves coating irons or steels to protect against erosion.

* Company: Tennessee Galvanizing

* Location: 1535 Industrial Blvd., Jasper, Tenn.

* How it's green: During the galvanizing process, the company used to use hydrochloric acid, which cannot be recycled. In 2008, the company changed to using sulfuric acid, which can be recycled, Chief Executive Officer David S. Ware said. He said the machine the company created, known as "the skim machine," takes the zinc and iron out of the acid so it can be reused as ferrous sulfate, which is sold and used in animal feed or fertilizer. Through other efforts, the company has also reduced its water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and natural gas consumption.

* Why do it this way? "We decided we wanted to have the smallest footprint possible," Ware said. "It's just our corporate philosophy."

* Advice for others considering green initiatives: Ware said he'd like to see others, not just in the galvanizing industry, follow his company's lead. "It takes a lot of work, it took us a few years to get it done," he said. "If we can do it, everyone can do it." He advised businesses to keep at it, even if it takes a long time and you have to spend money upfront, because the end result will be worth the effort. "If you really have the vision and really want to, almost any industry can reduce their hazardous output," Ware said.

* Is environmentalism an essential part of the business and why? Reducing the company's environmental impact is a core part of Tennessee Galvanizing's mission, Ware said. "It's just the right thing to do, and it can be done," he said.

-- Compiled by staff writer Brittany Cofer, bcofer@timesfreepress.com, 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/brittanycofer.

about Brittany Cofer...

Brittany Cofer is a business reporter who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press since January 2010. She previously worked as a general assignment Metro reporter. In the Business department, she covers banking, retail, tourism, consumer issues and green issues. Brittany is from Conyers, Ga., and spent two years at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., before transferring to the University of Georgia. She graduated from the university’s Grady College of Journalism in December ...

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