2016 Sustainability Report



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 money we save. 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. 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.

In 2016, we formed a Resource Management Subcommittee to our Sustainability Committee to move beyond manufacturing to other areas in the company, such as product formulation and raw materials management, where waste can be eliminated or minimized.

In measuring our performance, we have shifted our focus from waste sent to landfill to total waste disposal, which includes landfilled, incinerated and treated waste. Our goal, set in early 2016, is a 10 percent reduction in our total waste disposal intensity by 2020 from a 2012 baseline.

In 2016, our total waste disposal intensity declined 8 percent from 2015 and 11 percent from 2012. Excluding our flat glass and European fiber glass businesses, which we sold in 2016, we had an 11 percent decline in intensity compared to prior year and 17 percent from 2012.

Our achievement of the waste goal four years ahead of the target was due, in part, to the sale of the two businesses. We will reevaluate the goal in 2017 against our current operations.

Total Waste Disposal Intensity

Metric tons per 100 metric tons of production

Year Amount
2013 4.26
2014 4.87
2015 4.50
2016 4.16

Total Waste Disposal Intensity Excluding Flat Glass and European Fiber Glass Businesses

Metric tons per 100 metric tons of production

Year Amount
2013 4.59
2014 5.63
2015 5.02
2016 4.45

We sold our flat glass and European fiber glass businesses in 2016.


Recycled or Reclaimed Waste


Year Non-Hazardous Wate Hazardous Waste
2012 15 32
2013 25 48
2014 23 45
2015 27 48
2016 25 51

Recycled or Reclaimed Waste Excluding Flat Glass and European Fiber Glass Businesses


Year Non-Hazardous Wate Hazardous Waste
2012 11 32
2013 22 49
2014 18 46
2015 20 49
2016 16 52

We sold our flat glass and European fiber glass businesses in 2016.


Some of our past waste-disposal methods, which were legal and accepted industry practices in their time, can require environmental remediation or land reclamation to meet today’s regulations, our internal standards or stakeholder expectations.

We use a life cycle approach to assess and manage environmental issues and impacts at all of our facilities. A site assessment, which we require at various stages in a facility’s life cycle, provides an environmental evaluation according to standard industry practices. The assessment determines what, if any, remediation activities or restrictions will be implemented to meet our ultimate goal—each facility is in a condition in which it can be reused safely and productively.

Spills and Releases

Our facilities have strong management practices in place to prevent spills and releases, and our corporate spill-elimination standard requires the establishment of a spill-elimination program at each facility.

The program consists of the following steps:

  • Assessment of a facility’s spill elimination performance;
  • Improvement plans based on prioritized assessment of risk;
  • Corrective action plan with defined dates; and
  • Completion of planned action.

An effective tool used by our locations is spill-elimination workshops. During these events, a cross-section of location employees used a rapid improvement process and checklist to assess their facilities to identify areas for immediate improvement, as well as opportunities for longer-term action planning.

We track our progress by measuring total spills and releases per 1,000 employees. In early 2016, we set a new goal to improve our spills and releases rate by at least 10 percent per year. We achieved an 11 percent improvement in the rate during 2016 and had zero significant spills.

Spills and Releases Rate

Total spills and releases per 1,000 employees

Year Amount
2012 2.32
2013 2.13
2014 2.08
2015 1.66
2016 1.48

Spills and Releases Rate Excluding Flat Glass and European Fiber Glass Businesses

Total spills and releases per 1,000 employees

Year Amount
2012 2.29
2013 2.02
2014 1.96
2015 1.58
2016 1.52

We sold our flat glass and European fiber glass businesses in 2016.

Projects reduce paint, other waste

Significant inventory levels and space constraints in its distribution centers led our architectural coatings business in the U.S. and Canada to set an ambitious goal to donate, recycle, rework and liquidate 2 million gallons (7,570 cubic meters) of unsold household paint by the end of 2016. The business surpassed its goal, reducing the warehoused paint by 3 million gallons (11,355 cubic meters). The project delivered close to $9.4 million in bottom-line impact and helped reduce the business’ total waste disposal intensity by 60 percent and total waste by 50 percent compared to 2015.

The business also implemented a program to give its marketing teams a chance to reduce their inventories of outdated marketing collateral materials. Of the 680 metric tons of materials removed from inventory, 95 percent was recycled. The effort saved $106,000 annually in storage costs. Another initiative focused on using recycled pallets is further eliminating waste to landfill and generating more than $1 million in savings.

Suzhou plant reduces hazardous waste by 13 percent

Through a series of projects guided by an updated waste-minimization plan, our aerospace facility in Suzhou, China, reduced its hazardous waste intensity by 13 percent during 2016.

Reduction activities included:

  • Eliminating 4,800 one-gallon cans annually by using a 55-gallon drum in the coating color-matching process;
  • Sourcing a qualified contractor to recycle activated carbon waste; and
  • Arranging for the PPG Research and Development Center to reuse the plant’s hazardous waste drums for waste solvent and coatings storage.

In addition to the reduction in hazardous waste, the plant will save around $17,000 annually due to the implemented changes.

Transforming PVC scrap into doormats

Scrapped polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products from our automotive OEM coatings facility in Saint-Just-en-Chaussée, France, are getting underfoot.

Previously disposed of through incineration, the plant’s PVC scrap is now converted into raw materials that a local company uses to manufacture doormats. The project will recycle approximately 51 metric tons of waste and save around $23,000 in disposal costs annually.


Process changes deliver 11 percent reduction in waste intensity

The amount of waste generated during production at our industrial coatings facility in Cieszyn, Poland, is directly related to the diversity of products manufactured and the sequence of production batches.

Recognizing this, the location has increased the size of production batches, identified a proper sequence for colors and dedicated production lines for specific products to minimize cleaning. In addition, samples taken by the lab for quality and process control are now returned to production.

In 2016, the plant’s waste intensity declined 11 percent versus 2015.

Cross-functional team zeros in on spills at Huron facility

A cross-functional Spill Elimination Team formed in 2016 at our architectural coatings facility in Huron, Ohio, helped reduce the number of spills by 7 percent and spill-related costs by 80 percent during the year despite increased reporting effectiveness that historically would have driven the spill count upwards.

The team, which meets monthly, updated procedures and practices for conducting a thorough spill analysis and also conducted several audits across the facility to identify and address spill risks. Tracking the number, cost and volume of spills by individual departments and buildings provides additional information for analysis and trend identification. To assist with spill investigations, the team placed throughout the buildings kits equipped with cameras, notepads, incident reports and other tools to help collect facts following a spill.

Efforts to drive employee awareness included the creation of a spill cost calculator that is updated following each spill and communicated monthly. Posters throughout the facility also show the number and cost of spills.


Mapping, minimizing waste at Huntsville facility

In 2016, the 18 area safety teams at our aerospace facility in Huntsville, Alabama, were tasked with identifying, mapping and minimizing at least one waste stream in their respective areas. Their efforts helped reduce the plant’s total waste disposal intensity by 26 percent.

One team sought to reduce the high scrap rate of a glass product undergoing a special coating process. Waste mapping identified a process step where small pieces of debris were striking the surface of the glass, causing deep scratches that resulted in more than 7 metric tons of off-spec glass being landfilled annually. Process changes reduced the amount of scrapped glass by more than 70 percent.

Another team was challenged to eliminate hazardous waste generated from draining tanks that have an incorrect concentration of sodium nitrate. Draining each tank cost $180,000 and generated 27 metric tons of hazardous waste. The solution—drain only 25 percent of the tank to bring the sodium nitrate concentration back into tolerance, reducing hazardous waste by 75 percent.

Waste management changes divert waste from landfill, incinerator

New equipment and process changes in the management of two wastes at our Circleville, Ohio, facility have resulted in less waste landfilled and incinerated.

The facility historically landfilled almost 360 metric tons of bio sludge from its onsite wastewater treatment plant each quarter. With the implementation of additional settling and decanting steps in the treatment process, the amount of bio sludge declined 40 percent. Annualized disposal savings total $65,000.

The Circleville plant also purifies methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) distillate—a byproduct in the stripping processes at three of our automotive OEM coatings facilities—for use as a raw material in place of virgin MIBK. Fouling issues with the MIBK systems coil often forced the facility to divert roughly 180 metric tons of MIBK distillate for incineration annually.

In 2016, the installation of a second coil to reduce production shutdowns due to fouling increased the amount of MIBK processed, resulting in a cost savings of $250,000 for virgin material. The initiative also eliminated the need for incineration, saving an additional $20,000 annually.

Keeping paint from municipal waste streams

Select PPG company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada serve as community drop-off points for unwanted paint of any brand. All collected paint is sent for reuse, recycling or safe disposal. The initiative is implemented in conjunction with the paint recovery efforts of PAINTCARE® Inc., Product Care Association and Éco-Peinture.

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