Manufacturing, Sustainability, and Technology

Battery plant earns 'landfill-free' designation

January 1, 2018
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LG Chem
LG Chem Michigan makes lithium-ion polymer batteries at its plant in Holland. LG Chem Michigan

A battery maker in the region has been recognized for its efforts to limit waste.

LG Chem Michigan was formally recognized by NSF International as a Landfill-Free Facility.

The company's plant is in Holland at 1 LG Way.

The designation is given to facilities that send less than 1 percent of their total waste to a landfill and have less than 50 percent of their waste processed as waste to energy, or WTE.

LG Chem said 97.4 percent of its waste is re-purposed, 2.5 percent goes to a WTE facility and less than 1 percent goes into a landfill.

The facility’s low WTE rate also qualifies it to use the Landfill-Free product mark, which requires a WTE rate of 10 percent or lower.

“Our products are part of a more sustainable future, and it is important to us that our process of building them supports that goal,” said Nick Kassanos, president, LG Chem Michigan.

The NSF International audit took one day to complete, compared to the standard two, because of the environmental team’s "extensive tracking of waste." NSF completed the audit and approved the verification in October.

Ralph Severns, senior environmental specialist of LG Chem Michigan, said the first step toward landfill-free verification is changing the company culture. He started the culture shift by removing 170 personal trashcans from desks.

“Sustainability is part of our culture at LG Chem Michigan,” Severns said. ”Our team members have been an integral part of achieving the landfill-free verification.”

LG Chem sends waste materials in 76 "different directions," and the byproducts are used in everything from Mylar insulation to wood press board. LG Chem Michigan also partners with Clean Planet Recycling.

LG Chem Michigan

LG Chem Michigan makes large lithium-ion polymer batteries and packs for electric vehicle and energy storage applications.

LG Chem Michigan is a subsidiary of LG Chem, a South Korean company that operates four main business units: basic materials and chemicals; energy solutions; IT and electronic materials; and life sciences.

NSF International

NSF International has been testing and certifying products for safety, health and the environment since 1944.

As an independent public health and safety organization, NSF’s mission is to protect human health and the environment through standards development, auditing, testing and certification for various industries: food; water; construction; retail; consumer products; chemical; and health sciences.

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