Leadership Blog

Being Truly Sustainable !

Posted on March 28, 2014 | in Quality, Sustainability | by

Larman’s manufacturing plant was proudly celebrating the achievement of Zero Landfill Process Waste.  Then, it dawned on me that his team of 250 people was now generating less waste each week than my wife and I did at home.  What’s wrong with this picture?!  Humbling!

It was gratifying to see one of our Mohawk Home teams achieve the “Zero” distinction, displaying their unique t-shirts touting, “We’re good for nothing!”  The plant culture had shifted to a new level of waste management, safety, housekeeping, and quality.  The spillover effect into other areas of the business was unmistakable.  Just as gratifying over one year later is that the culture shift had been institutionalized. … Sustainability stuck!  Fortunately, my employer, Mohawk Industries, has been serious about Sustainability for years, so getting to “Zero” was a logical next step.

So, what does being Truly Sustainable look like?  Being privileged to be part of leading 16 plants at Mohawk to Zero Process Waste Landfill, here are just a few of the Best Practices in which I have participated:

  • No process waste is sent to the landfill! … ZERO is the reality!
  • No trashcans on the floor (which helps the needed culture shift compelling people to a Sustainability consciousness).
  • “Trash is Money” is embedded into the culture.
  • The passion to “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is central to the culture.
  • Recycling and segregation are applied to everything from raw materials to potato chip bags to paper, on the frontlines and in the offices.
  • All materials are segregated and pure, with 5S applied extensively.
  • Nothing is on the floor.
  • Break areas are organized and spotless.
  • Self-audits verify discipline to best practices.
  • Product designers constantly engage product and process sustainability.
  • When a new “unfriendly” material appears, Tina and her Waste Stream Team launch efforts to lead the elimination of the problem.
  • Purchasing practices include Sustainability expectations.
  • Costs improve because waste is reduced!  The big savings came from reducing waste rather than from reducing landfill costs.

The only waste generated from Larman’s entire factory are such things as apple cores, banana peels, and food containers, amounting to less than one 30-gallon garbage bag per week!  Larman’s team, being truly Sustainable, motivated me at home where I now have less than 30 gallons weekly.  Still, proportionately, I have work to do.

What’s in your trash?  Do you have less than 30 gallons each week?  Are you truly Sustainable, at the plant and at home?
… Pass It On!

Today’s quote: “It’s easy to say you’re green; It’s something else being truly Sustainable.”

"It's not easy being Green!"

“It’s not easy being Green!”



2 Responses to “Being Truly Sustainable !”

  1. Billy Bowers says:

    KB, just wanted to say thank you for the years you spent at Mohawk and all the great things you did for our company. Also want to personally thank you for mentoring me in my career. I remember the first day I met you coming home and telling my wife that I really thought working with you would be a good opportunity for me to grow in my career. I was right about that and believe you really helped me grow as a professional. I wish you and Nancy the best, and if you ever need anything from me I am a call away!

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