DTE Energy has maintained a paper and cardboard recycling program for decades. In recent years we’ve expanded office materials recycling to include a wide variety of items including magazines, file folders and three ring binders. While recycling conserves renewable and nonrenewable resources, prevents pollution and is good for the environment, it’s even better to use less from the start. We began a company-wide paper savings initiative in early 2009 resulting in a 19.6 percent reduction in copy paper purchased. As a result of this initiative we expect our recycling rates to actually drop as we continue to use less paper.
Our offices and facilities state-wide collect and recycle alkaline batteries, computer equipment and light bulbs. The recent addition of plastic bottle recycling has proven very popular with employees. 42 separate locations – nearly all manned operations in the state -- recycle these common office materials.
Our employee Green Team collects thousands of holiday greeting cards and illustrated calendars every year in January. The cards are recycled by handicapped students into new cards, which we help them sell the following holiday season. The calendars go to a local nonprofit organization that works with children in school and at public events making art from recycled materials.
We collect and sell millions of pounds of scrap metal each year, thanks to the efforts of our Investment Recovery organization. Breaking down and salvaging old materials is part of Investment Recovery’s core mission. From telephones to transformers, this group finds new life for old materials, reducing the amount of reusable resources and contaminants that would otherwise be headed for landfills.
For the past 68 years, DTE Energy and Goodwill Industries have worked together to provide the services traditionally offered through DTE Energy's Investment Recovery/ Salvage operation. This includes the reclamation of surplus goods and equipment, and the liquidation of surplus, obsolete and scrap materials and equipment. As of January, this affiliation has produced a new partnership that will prove beneficial to both groups, including Goodwill's Green Works' new 96,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility at 6421 Lynch Road in Detroit. Through this partnership, Goodwill's workforce will be afforded new skills and training opportunities within the Greater Detroit area to increase future job prospects and promote individual growth. It also will allow DTE Energy to focus more on our core business while still maintaining oversight as to the disposition of materials and equipment, and significantly reduce our costs.
We also focus on reuse and recycling from an industrial perspective. Examples of our efforts to embrace this commitment include:
- Finding a new use for the old bricks from the lining of the stack at our River Rouge Power Plant. The power plant replaced the lining of its stack and instead of disposing of 1.5 million pounds of bricks; we used them to create a new base for the plant’s coal pile. This project prevented the brick from being land-filled and offset the material resources that would otherwise have been used to create the base.
- Finding a new use for more than 220,000 lbs of rubber belting from our Monroe and Belle River Plants. Excess belting was reused rather than wasted in a landfill.
- Recycling more than 2.7 million pounds of old metal gas pipe. Our MichCon Natural Gas Transmission group installed new piping to improve reliability and faced the decision of what to do with the old piping. We decided to remove the piping rather than leave it in place, resulting in the reuse of the material.
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