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Sustainable Manufacturing Clean drive, clean built and better for everyone.

Thomas Built's commitment to environmental responsibility means more than creating Clean Drive Technologies. It means establishing sustainable manufacturing practices.

green grass
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Sustainable Manufacturing
at Thomas Built Buses

Thomas Built Buses is committed to manufacturing vehicles in an environmentally responsible manner and views sustainable manufacturing as a crucial aspect of its corporate vision to be a good community partner, corporate citizen and steward of our cherished natural resources. Thomas Built Buses, an industry leader in sustainability efforts, is the first school bus manufacturer to achieve Zero-Waste-to-Landfill operations, an effort that demonstrates the company's commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

With our Zero-Waste-to-Landfill operations, solar panels and a growing list of Clean Drive Technologies, Thomas Built has a commitment to sustainability that you can see in our people, our products and our processes.

With buses that are green from the ground up as well as inside and out, we have made Thomas Built Buses the leading sustainable school bus manufacturer. More reasons we are proud to put our children, and yours, on a Thomas Built bus.

Answers to some frequently asked questions about Thomas Built's sustainable manufacturing efforts.

Jeff Allen
Jeff Allen
Thomas' VP of Operations

Kelley Platt
Kelley Platt
Thomas' President & CEO

Roger M. Nielsen
Roger M. Nielsen
COO, DTNA

Thomas Built Buses, an industry leader in sustainability efforts, was the first, and remains the only, school bus manufacturer to achieve Zero-Waste-to-Landfill operations.

Zero-Waste-to-Landfill means that everything received or produced by the company is used, reused, recycled or sold, and nothing is sent to the landfill.

Using the company's Truck Operating System (TOS) continuous improvement program, Thomas employee teams identified the best options for reducing waste and recycling each material, whether reusing cartons for shipping, reclaiming solvent, working with supplier partners to reduce packaging or turning waste into energy.

In 2006, Thomas Built sent more than 16 million pounds of waste to the landfill for the year, or the equivalent of 1,132 pounds of waste for every bus manufactured. Today, Thomas Built operations are Zero-Waste-to-Landfill, with the last load being taken to the landfill on December 23, 2010.

The Zero-Waste-to-Landfill goal was initiated by Daimler AG to reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing facilities under the Daimler umbrella. Thomas Built Buses was the second business in the Daimler Trucks North America family to achieve Zero-Waste-to-Landfill operations.

In the first year of being Zero-Waste-to-Landfill, Thomas Built Buses' achievement equated to a reduction of 8,595 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). It was comparable to removing 1,574 cars from the road, conserving 4,900 barrels of oil or not using 1.2 million gallons of gasoline.

See how Daimler Trucks North America is committed to reducing manufacturing waste.

Recycling

During the company's journey to Zero-Waste-to-Landfill, Thomas Built Buses employee teams identified the best options for reducing waste and recycling each material, whether reusing cartons for shipping, reclaiming solvent, working with supplier partners to reduce packaging or turning waste into energy.

As a result from 2008 to 2010, Thomas Built Buses nearly doubled its recycling of wood to more than two million pounds and nearly tripled its paper and cardboard recycling to more than one million pounds.

And, because the most sustainable manufacturing is one that doesn’t produce waste in the first place, Thomas Built Buses is continuing to work to eliminate waste before it needs to be recycled. Since the 2010 accomplishments, new packaging solutions and process changes have eliminated 12 percent of wood and cardboard from the recycling stream.

Today, the company recycles an extensive list of items, including but not limited to:

  • Aluminum cans and scrap
  • Batteries
  • Bottles
  • Brass
  • Bubble wrap
  • Caps
  • Cardboard
  • Computer equipment and other e-waste
  • Copper wire and welding tips
  • Fluorescent lamps
  • Glass
  • Hardened steel
  • Metal drums
  • Packing bands
  • Paint solvent
  • Paper
  • Plastic bags
  • Solvent rags
  • Stainless steel
  • Trays
  • Welding gloves
  • Wood pallets and crates
  • Zip ties
Utility Reduction

Using Daimler Utility Reduction Teams (DURT) and the company's ECO (Environmentally Conscious Operations) checklist, Thomas employees continue to identify the best options for streamlined utility operation. In the last few years Thomas Built has been able to significantly reduce its overall utility consumption.

Energy conservation: Between 2008 and 2011, Thomas Built reduced its total annual energy consumption by 10.1 percent; this equates to a savings of 360 kW per bus manufactured.

Water conservation: Between 2008 and 2011, Thomas Built reduced its total annual water consumption by 9.8 percent; this equates to a savings of 239 gallons per bus produced by the company.

Clean Energy

Thomas Built Buses is committed to reducing its environmental footprint with clean manufacturing efforts and to in making positive impacts by providing clean energy for the community.

Land-to-Energy: DTNA is proud to be a part of Duke Energy's renewable energy program, a distributed generation plan, in which electricity is produced at numerous solar panel micro-generating sites rather than at a large, centralized traditional power plant.

In 2010, Thomas Built provided the land to house 1,690 solar panels, owned and operated by Duke Energy. The field is projected to produce enough power to sustain 41* average-sized homes.

Waste-to-Energy: In 2010, Thomas Built recycled 557,878 pounds of waste into energy and produced enough power to sustain 40* homes for a year. By working with suppliers to reduce packaging waste, Thomas generated only 211,924 pounds for waste-to-energy in 2011, a 60 percent reduction in that recycling stream.

*Based on average annual use of 13,716 kWh per home.

To further bolster Thomas Built's credentials as a leader in facility waste management and demonstrate its environmental commitment, the company has sought and achieved several partnerships and certifications.

EPA WasteWiseEPA WasteWise: Thomas became a voluntary member of the EPA's WasteWise program in 2009. Using a data management and reporting system, member sites collect, organize, and analyze their municipal solid waste information, then track waste reduction activities. Members must provide annual environmental reporting to the organization.

North Carolina Environmental Stewardship InitiativeNorth Carolina Environmental Stewardship Initiative: Thomas Built is a steward in the North Carolina Environmental Stewardship Initiative, whose mission is to assist organizations in reducing their environmental impacts beyond regulatory requirements and recognize those that achieve and maintain this commitment. The North Carolina Environmental Stewardship Initiative is part of North Carolina's Department of Environment and Natural Resources and a Division of the Pollution and Prevention and Environmental Assistance.
 
Read more about Thomas Built's Environmental Steward achievement.
 

ISO 14001 Certifications: ISO 14001 is an internationally recognized set of standards for environmental performance that surpass basic compliance with environmental regulations. While all of Thomas Built's manufacturing facilities became ISO 14001 certified in January 2010, the Saf-T-Liner® C2 plant, Chassis plant and Minotour® production line earned ISO 14001 certification in December 2004.

Thomas Bus environmental policy

As a part of the Daimler Trucks North America organization, Thomas Built Buses is committed to manufacturing our vehicles in an environmentally responsible manner.

The DTNA ECOSystem: commit, comply, prevent, improve, design, achieve