FM Generator: Leading the way on industry recycling

This week the world celebrated Earth Day, and FM Generator is a great example of a company doing the right thing to help keep the Earth clean and healthy for future generations.

One of the side effects of being in the generator business is that we generate a lot of waste. Over the last five years FM Generator has made a conscious effort to go green, which means reducing the amount of waste we generate, and, most important, recycling the waste we generate.

After researching the issue, FM Generator discovered that recycling is easier than anticipated and creates financial savings which reduce costs for customers. The majority of our waste is used motor oil or contaminated diesel fuel.  In the past we shipped these consumables to a third- party recycling center at a cost to the customer. Now we transport used fuel from customer sites to the closest FM facility, where it is converted to fuel specialized space heaters.  These units generate nearly a million BTUs and heat FM’s 50,000-square-foot facilities in Canton and West Springfield and its 10,000-square-foot building in Lynchburg, Virginia.

FM’s antifreeze is sent off to a regulated recycling facility where it is treated through a reverse osmosis process and recycled to a glycol or propylene base for use as a coolant or heat transfer fluid.

Metal products, including oil, fuel, and coolant filters, is processed internally and then sent off to salvage along with all ferrous-based metals (iron). All non-ferrous such as aluminum, brass, copper, lead, and mixed iron is sorted and placed in appropriate bins and sent off to a recycling center.  Engines and generators are also processed and recycled in bulk. Wire, ballasts and electrical components are sorted and placed in bins and recycled accordingly. Paper, cardboard and plastics are sent off to appropriate recyclers.  We even recycle our wooden pallets, which are sent off to a pallet manufacturer who grinds them up for wood chips or remanufactures them into new pallets.

Our recycling efforts have been a huge success.  Seven years ago we generated ten cubic yards of garbage a week.  Now we generate two yards per month. What little garbage we do generate is sent off to the SEMASS waste-to-energy facility in Rochester, MA.

Through its recycling efforts, FM has rewritten the old cliché about one man’s trash being another man’s treasure: At FM, our trash turns into our customers’ savings. There is a slight increase in shop labor and more space is required for the containers to store the recycled goods. Recycling is a great thing to do, and all companies should take advantage of recycling instead of just throwing it into the trash.

The photograph shows nonferrous metals ready to be sent off to the recycling center.

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