How Manufacturers Can Adopt Recycling, Sustainability Practices

It’s almost Earth Day.  Every April, we take time to reflect on the past year’s efforts and look how we can continue to build a “greener” future–and we hope others in the manufacturing industry do the same. To clarify, Clean Technica mentions that “green” manufacturing can be considered in two ways: creating these environmentally friendly products that will move onto create clean energy and actually reducing pollution and waste in a company’s process. At Gage, we incorporate both into our production.

Since 1936, we’ve worked to build a reputation as the world’s preferred supplier of chemical-related products and processes, and over time, we’ve incorporated a “Sustainable” mentality.  In 1994, we received a license to operate a Limited Storage Facility in 1994—and received its ten-year license renewal from the State of Michigan in August 2003. The license is required because Gage stores paint-related hazardous waste materials from automotive and other industries for on-site recycling.

We pride ourselves on the fact that we have safely recycled and remanufactured more than 100 million gallons of liquid organic materials at our facility since we began our sustainable manufacturing program, resulting in the reduction of millions of pounds of VOC’s and HAPS.  This is material that would have otherwise gone to disposal and or landfill.


Because of this commitment to sustainability, we’re thrilled to reveal we recently received an “Honorable Mention” from PR News’ Corporate Sustainability Awards (CSR) in the category for “Corporation with less than 25,000 employees.”

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimizing environmental impact have become priorities for organizations around the world and Gage is no exception. We are thoroughly committed to reducing our environmental footprint through sustainable business practices that meet today’s needs and support the needs of future generations.

By having sustainability ingrained in our corporate culture, we are fully committed to advancing our environmental programs and policies. For us, conducting business in a socially responsible manner is the only way to conduct business. We hope that you will celebrate Earth Day with us by looking to see what your company can do to become a little “greener.” For more information on how you can get involved, head over to, and for more information on our efforts, check out our website.

Sustainability Initiatives to Get Involved With in Michigan

GageSustainabilityPhotoSustainability has been a global concern for at least a quarter of a century, and many countries are focusing on greener living now more than ever. Though U.S. sustainability is undoubtedly a nation-wide effort, each state contributes to the movement in its own way. Michigan comes in as the 19th most sustainable state, but looking to 2014 and beyond, the Wolverine State is on track to improve that rank, according to Site Selection.

There are many initiatives in Michigan that indicate how bright a future the state could (and will) have. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—along with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—has partnered with the Mid-Michigan Program for Sustainability, a consortium of community organizations working on various projects ranging from a community reinvestment fund to an energy audit of built structures. The MMPGS’s overall goal is to “spread awareness and interest about the sustainable development of our region.”

Higher education in the state is also doing its part to develop not only the next generation of workers—but a “greener” state as well. The Western Michigan University’s Office of Sustainability, which seeks “to advance responsible environmental stewardship,” joined the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating system in November of 2013.

STARS, a program administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, publicly reports an institution’s sustainability performance, and more than two hundred colleges and universities across Canada and the U.S. are participants. Saginaw Valley State University has partnered with The Dow Chemical Company Foundation to create a Dow Science and Sustainability Education Center. The center, which will be up and running during the summer of 2014, will educate students and teachers in the Great Lakes Bay Region in advancements made in science, technology, and engineering.

One non-profit organization that’s been receiving a lot of attention over the last few years is The Empowerment Plan. Originally started as a class project by Veronika Scott, it eventually grew into something much bigger. The group creates waterproof, self-heated coats that can also be used as sleeping bags, which it then donates to the homeless on the streets of Detroit. It is clear initiatives aren’t just spreading to where we live, but the people who live in our area as well.

Plenty of great work is being done by many different people and organizations in Michigan to raise the state’s level of sustainable development. Whether the aid comes from the federal government, universities, large multinational corporations, or non-profits, the joint effort results in a net positive that promises to bring even better days in the years to come.

See how we’re involved with sustainability initiatives in our area by checking out our website and Facebook page.

We’re Proud Supporters of Innovations and the Next Generation of Automotive Engineers

EcoCar Students

Want to plug into the future? That’s exactly what 15 universities across North America are doing as part of the EcoCar competition. The program, established by the Department of Energy and General Motors, offers a chance for the next generation of automotive engineers to gain hands-on, real-world experience.

Each team was awarded a 2013 Chevy Malibu to work on, with the goal of designing an American-made automobile with less dependence on oil and more environmental benefits. In May, competitors spent six days in Yuma, Arizona, testing out the drive quality and environmental impact of their vehicle, which were evaluated on safety, performance, utility, safety, and reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Pennsylvania State University’s ethanol (E85) plug-in hybrid electric vehicle impressed the judges and inspectors enough to win the competition for the second year in a row.


Tony Jang, business manager for Gage’s fuel segment, alongside a few EcoCar competition entries.

At Gage, we love innovation, and we believe in supporting educational endeavors and the  outreach of a younger generation. Because of the exceptional results and dedication to this program, we are proud to provide the specially formulated fuels to the university teams participating in the annual competition. As leading supplier of test fuels, custom fuels blends, and reference fuels, Gage has also been a proud sponsor of the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge for the past 11 years.

We can’t stress the importance of being involved with new ideas—especially when clean energy and reduced environmental impact is the basis of these projects. For more information on Gage’s sustainability efforts and initiatives, head over to our website.

We’re a ‘Green Leaders Automotive Innovation’ Honoree!

Our recent “Why Recycling Is Good For Your Company” blog discussed the cost-effective and eco-friendly bonuses of reusing existing materials instead of making new products out of raw materials. For the past few decades, we’ve aimed to set “green” standards within our industry while pioneering sustainable closed-loop recycling systems, which reduces costs and increases resource management.

We’re proud that more than 100 million gallons of liquid organic materials has been recycled and remanufactured—especially when considering this material could have gone into a landfill or another form of disposal. We have also developed customized fuel blends made from Michigan-made sustainable resources such as ethanol-based fuels and biofuels.

Many organizations across the globe make reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimizing negative environmental impact a priority—and we consider ourselves one of those companies. Our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint through sustainable business practices that meet today’s needs and support the needs of future generations is important to us.

By having sustainability ingrained in our corporate culture, we are fully committed to advancing our environmental programs and policies. For us, conducting business in a socially responsible manner is the only way to conduct business.

Our hard work has been previously highlighted in Automotive Design & Production and Waste News, and we are excited to announce that the Detroit Free Press named us a Green Leaders Automotive Innovations honoree. Each year, the Free Press recognizes organizations working toward making Michigan a greener, more environmentally sustainable state, and for the past 25 years, that’s exactly what we’ve aspired to achieve­.

Why Recycling Is Good For Your Company

Gage Products Company has been recycling for 25 years, which means more than 100 million gallons of liquid organic materials has been safely recycled and remanufactured in our facility. We are committed to sustainability, which is why our products are designed, formulated, and manufactured with recycling as a priority.

There’s a common misconception that recycling is too expensive. Some might even believe it’s too time-consuming or won’t make a difference in the scheme of things. We whole-heartedly disagree.

First of all, recycling isn’t a one-size-fits-all term. At a consumer level, recycling is as easy as reusing glass jars or plastic containers, but at a manufacturing level, it’s a little more in-depth. Take paper, for example, which can be recycled into other paper or burned for fuel—it’s more cost effective to use it in a fire than repurpose it, but either way, the environment is satisfied you’re not cutting down extra trees. However, in almost every instance, it takes less energy to repurpose existing materials than making new products from raw materials.

Still don’t believe recycling is for you? Check out five statistics from Global Environment Services:

  • The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours.
  • The amount of recycled aluminum from 2012 could rebuild the entire world’s airplane commercial fleet every six months.
  • The amount of wood and paper people in the U.S. threw away last year is enough to heat 50 million homes for two decades.
  • Out of the 251 million tons of trash generated last year, only about 33 percent was recycled.
  • The disposable forks, cups, and spoons thrown away in 2012 could circle the equator 300 times.

It’s clear there’s an earthly benefit to recycling, but most likely, you’re looking for a benefit for your company—and who isn’t? Many major brands already make money off of recycling, and your company can be next.  Paying waste disposal companies to collect your trash isn’t cheap, and having a recycling program within your company cuts down on wastes. Plus, a majority of states offer a tax credit for recycling equipment and more customers are looking toward “green” companies for products, which means more money will be in your pocket while you make eco-friendly decisions.

Want more information on our award-winning recycling and sustainability solutions? Head over to our website.

Gage Products at NAIAS 2013

Over three-quarters of a million people visited last year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and with that number poised to grow, Gage Products is excited to be among this massive group of attendees later this month, from January 14th through the 22nd. We work with the automotive industry in a number of key areas, namely our custom fuel blend products (used mainly in emissions testing) and our purge solvents used in cleaning automotive paint application lines.  Our paint system line cleaning is used by auto manufacturers to maintain system specifications and restore them to a “bare metal” condition.

Additionally, as we celebrate our 25th year of solvent recycling, we are proud to be a green partner of the many OEMs that will be present at the Auto Show. We’ll be making the rounds and visiting as many exhibits as we can; this is a great opportunity to keep your finger on the pulse of the state of the industry for the upcoming year. The NAIAS 2013 is the perfect chance to get a snapshot of where auto manufacturing is, and where it’s going.

In addition to the rollout of the next model year of cars, there are always some great concept cars to take a look at as well. Last year featured, unsurprisingly, lots of hybrid and electric cars, some new takes on minivans and SUVs, and more. Along with other fun elements like the NAIAS photo contest and numerous charity events, the Auto Show can bring in up to $375 million to the Detroit area, so we’re not the only ones looking forward to it. The impact on area businesses is wide-ranging and major. What’s been the best part of past NAIAS shows for you?

Closed-Loop Recycling: 25 Years Of Environmental Stewardship

This fall, Gage Products is celebrating 25 years of our closed-loop solvent recycling process. This process, representing a commitment to sustainability, safety, and the environment, has been adopted by several leading automotive manufacturers since Gage developed it. The underlying strategy of maximizing the remanufacturing and recycling potential of each component of a manufacturer’s paint and purge lines means that overall environmental impact is reduced on several fronts. Gage’s philosophy in developing the closed-loop recycling system views each of these components as a material to be repurposed, not as waste to be disposed of.

Under this principle, each portion of a manufacturer’s waste stream is analyzed and separated – we call it understanding the DNA of the material. Paint solids are separated from the spent purge solvent, and rather than becoming landfill waste, instead becomes cement kiln fuel, replacing coal. Water and any other contaminants are removed, and the solvent is re-blended to meet the same standards as unused, virgin solvent. Throughout all of this, spent solvent that might have been hazardous waste releasing emissions into the air and potentially the ground is instead being treated and handled at our facility.

As you can see, the benefits of the closed-loop recycling system are many – not only to the environment, but to the manufacturers who implement it as well. In the course of developing the closed-loop system, Gage can optimize the formulations and blends used, creating faster purging and quicker paint line changeovers. We’re pleased to be celebrating 25 years of commitment to sustainability on this front, and look forward to sharing more innovations down the road.

The Navy and its “Great Green Fleet”

The USNS Henry J. Kaiser.

The USNS Henry J. Kaiser.

Everyone at Gage was thrilled when we found out that the U.S. Navy made the commitment to sail a “Great Green Fleet” by 2016. This fleet will include nuclear vessels, hybrid electric ships, and aircraft powered by biofuels. In the past couple of months, the Navy got things rolling by launching the oiler (a ship designed to carry fuel) USNS Henry J. Kaiser with nearly 900,000 gallons of biofuel blended with petroleum. It is on its way to help fuel ships and aircraft of a strike group that will be part of the largest annual international maritime warfare maneuvers, the 22-nation Rim of the Pacific exercise. The Navy is hoping that this important test of the biofuels will convince everyone that the project is worth not only the higher price tag but also a viable way to keep America safe. There has been a great deal of push back from some lawmakers about the initial costs of the plan. The biofuel itself will cost $26 a gallon compared to $3.60 for conventional fuel. However, the Navy believes that, in time the cost will come down and that you can’t put a price on energy independence. Only time will tell how this innovative plan will work. But as proponents of alternative fuels, Gage is a fan of anything that will add up to a cleaner and greener environment for us all.

Sustainability in the UK, and Beyond

At Gage Products, we have a serious commitment to recycling and sustainability.  We are global experts in the recycling and remanufacturing of solvents and chemicals using environmentally friendly recycling processes, and our distillation and recycling programs have proven innovative and invaluable to customers around the world.  Within this area, we provide exceptional work in the form of fractional distillation/evaporation and toll remanufacturing, and we are the world leader in closed loop solvent recovery and remanufacturing.  At our facilities in the UK, we have developed a reputation for being groundbreaking in these areas.  Here are some details on our involvement:

  • Since the program began in 2011, the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) credits achieved are  398,247 kilogrammes. Through April 2012, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) credits are 181,725 kilogrammes.
  • Since the program began in 2011, Paint Solids Hazardous Landfill Elimination versus Incineration has resulted in 118,940 kilogrammes saved. Through April 2012, that number is 54,613 kilogrammes.
  • The paint solids are sent to cement kilns and are typically used as a substitute for coal. The substitution is normally  1:1 with respect to BTUs, and the waste fuel typically burns cleaner than the coal, as an added benefit!

This is of particular importance to us, as the UK produces approximately 290 million tons of waste per year.  The government is working hard to move the country towards more sustainable practices, and we are helping these efforts.  Things are looking up; in 2002-2003, 42% of commercial/industrial waste was recycled, while the number jumped to 52% in 2009.  While there is still a long way to go, and more chemical and solvent recycling needs to be done each year, we are pleased to see that the UK is moving in the right direction, and especially happy to know that we are helping with that.

As we continue to help our UK and worldwide customers save money, increase their efficiency, and reduce their carbon footprint, we look toward a greener future.  You can read more about our recycling services at