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Stopping the leak Featured

7:00pm EDT January 29, 2008

If there is one skill that Weatherchem Corp. has an abundance of, it’s the ability to prevent a leak. So when the controlled dispensing closures company decided to put its efforts into being more sustainable, it was able to put a lid on its more wasteful habits.

When Albert J. Weatherhead III purchased Ankeny Corp. in 1971 and changed its name to Weatherchem, the company began a consistent streak of creating closures that regularly were ahead of the market. But when Weatherhead and President Jennifer Altstadt looked into the future of the business, they realized a new focus on the products of the company — and the business as a whole — had to be made as the global spotlight on the environment grew.

The evolution into more sustainable processes started with small changes and eventually led to more drastic ones. By purchasing more energy-efficient and cost-effective light bulbs, having employees turn off lights during lunch and computers at night, and creating a recycling program that donated paper to schools so they could turn them in for money, Weatherchem created avenues that employees could participate in every day. Soon, Weatherchem purchased lighter, more energy-efficient machines that used 38 percent less energy. Along with that, new systems were created so that the machines are now booted up in a slower process that does not demand a spike in energy, keeping the company’s energy costs lower.

Beyond conserving energy, Weatherchem is also working to reduce its environmental footprint by producing less waste. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in most parts of the developed world, packaging makes up as much as one-third of the non-industrial solid waste stream, so Weatherchem developed two new closures for the spice market that are sift-resistant. The product is fully contained in its package, eliminating the need for a wasteful liner. That product combined with the company’s efforts over the last two years to create a lighter-weight design for all of its new products, creates less overall waste.

Finally, the company is working on a biodegradable cap, ensuring that the evolution of the company will keep up with business and environmental movements by being ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability.

HOW TO REACH: Weatherchem Corp., (330) 452-4206 or www.weatherchem.com