Air Emissions
Environmental Sustainability

We are committed to controlling air emissions from our facilities to reduce local, regional and global impacts.

The largest component of air emissions from our facilities is carbon dioxide (CO2) generated from boilers and power-generation turbines (for heat and energy), and from other combustion processes, such as thermal oxidizers (for treating air emissions) and incinerators (for destroying waste). These combustion processes also result in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sometimes sulfur oxides (SOx), depending on the fuels used. We strive to make our facilities more energy efficient through our energy-management programs. By making these improvements, we also reduce emissions of NOx and SOx from our operations.

For more information on our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy use, click here.

Solvents are one of the largest sources of air emissions from our manufacturing processes and emissions from solvent use are the primary component of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. In an effort to reduce these emissions, we use pollution-control technologies such as conservation vents, carbon filters, thermal oxidizers, condensers and scrubbers.

A key element of our Green & Sustainable Science program is to design efficient processes that use fewer and less hazardous solvents. We also use water-based methods for cleaning our process equipment when they are as effective as solvent-based methods. Both of these efforts result in lower VOC emissions.

Air Pollutant Emissions by Type (Metric Tons)1
20112012201320142015
Ozone-depleting substances (ODS)0.62.61.61.50.1
Nitrogen oxides (NOx)583580550509474
Sulfur oxides (SOx)8665565347
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)618611533523453
Note: Previously reported data have been restated per our methodology, which includes adding facilities that have been acquired and removing facilities that have been sold.
1 Data are estimated using conservative assumptions and factors, not measured or weighed.

Our emissions data reflect the facilities we own and operate, our leased facilities and our vehicle and aircraft fleet–related emissions. The decrease in NOx, SOx and VOC emissions between 2014 and 2015 is primarily attributed to more accurate emission-tracking methods, reductions in the use of solvent in our manufacturing operations and our energy-management programs. Emissions of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are the result of non-routine releases from temperature-control and fire-suppression systems, and can vary significantly from year to year. We saw a reduction in our ODS emissions due to the phase-out of these substances in the European Union in 2015.