Bandit wins EPA award
By Bandit Industries
Sept. 13, 2011 - Wood chipper manufacturer Bandit Industries received a National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP) achievement award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, September 7. The award was given to the company for efforts in reducing hazardous chemicals in the workplace, specifically with the reduction of mercury. Bandit was one of only three organizations in Michigan to receive the award.
By Bandit Industries
Sept. 13, 2011 – Wood chipper manufacturer Bandit Industries received a
National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP) achievement
award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday,
September 7. The award was given to the company for efforts in reducing
hazardous chemicals in the workplace, specifically with the reduction of
mercury. Bandit was one of only three organizations in Michigan to
receive the award.
“We established a goal to reduce our mercury use throughout our
buildings,” said Bandit facilities manager Louie Jensen. “We
focused on thermostats, which often contain minute amounts of mercury.
With over 65 furnaces throughout our buildings the project seemed
overwhelming at first, but we put together a plan and over the course of
two months replaced all the thermostats with new programmable units
that were mercury free.”
Bandit accepts its award for reducing mercury in its plant. From left to right—Terry Howard, Dianne Morey, Kelly Zielinski, Janet Haff, Louie Jensen and Lee Hohlbein.
Bandit’s proactive replacement of these thermostats resulted in
approximately three pounds of the dangerous metal being removed from the
company grounds. The old thermostats were then securely packaged and
sent to a recycling facility.
“Three pounds may not sound like much, but even the tiny amounts found
in a basic household fever thermometer can result in a very hazardous
chemical spill,” explained Janet Haff, waste minimization coordinator
for the EPA, region five. “Bandit is really ahead of the curve on
These reductions were achieved as part of the NPEP program, a voluntary
reduction program in which companies, municipalities, federal facilities
and tribes partner with the EPA to reduce and/or recycle toxic
chemicals. The NPEP program also works to identify environmentally
preferable alternatives and fosters technology transfer. In Bandit’s
case, switching to mercury-free programmable thermostats also came with a
welcome side effect.
“With our new thermostats we saw a 30 per cent reduction in our heating
bill from the previous winter,” said Jensen. “We double and
triple-checked our figures after seeing that, but everything lined up.
We’re tenfold over the cost of the installation just in energy savings,
all from simply replacing thermostats.”
Haff presented the award to Bandit at the company’s global headquarters
in Remus, Michigan. Receiving the award was Jensen along with Bandit co-owner Dianne Morey, human resources generalist Kelly Zielinski, industrial technician Lee Hohlbein and maintenance assistant Terry
“Louie, Lee and Terry have been phenomenal in this effort,” said Haff.
“On behalf of the EPA we congratulate them and all of Bandit for their
achievements in the NPEP program.”
To date, NPEP partners have been successful in removing more than 40 million pounds of potentially hazardous material.
“Bandit Industries has demonstrated that chemical management can improve
an organization's environmental and economic performance,” said Haff.
“The goal also helped to raise awareness regarding the dangers of
mercury to both human health and the environment.”
Founded in 1983 with just six employees and a 6,000 square-foot converted
workshop, Bandit has continually expanded to become a global
manufacturer with over 50,000 machines sold in more than 50 countries.
The company’s entire operation remains rooted in mid-Michigan, employing
a local workforce of approximately 300 to design, fabricate, build and
ship a variety of equipment for the logging, tree care, land clearing,
biomass and wood waste recycling industries.