Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation Partners With Gaffney High School to Promote Environmental Responsibility

GAFFNEY, S.C. - Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) and Gaffney High School (GHS) are partnering to promote environmental responsibility, significantly reducing unnecessary waste and encouraging recycling among high school students at the school.

"Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is excited to share our environmental strategies and successes with others, especially high school students who might turn what they learn from us into lifelong habits and promote to their peers," said Ryan Pennington, FCCC environmental technician. "Partnering with Gaffney High School is a great way for FCCC to reach out and help improve our surrounding neighborhoods and communities. Students will learn from us, and we expect to also learn from them."

FCCC is the pilot location for the Zero Waste to Landfill program, an initiative implemented by Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA), FCCC's parent company. The purpose of the Zero Waste to Landfill program is to become 100 percent landfill waste-free by 2010. As of May 31, the company had achieved a 94.1 percent waste-free status.

Following successful strategies FCCC has implemented to reduce landfill waste at its manufacturing facility such as recycling plastic, paper, aluminum, cardboard, metals, wood and nylon; securing air leaks; identifying power-saving initiatives; and working to reduce emissions pollutants, GHS students and its science department created a new student-led organization known as the "Green Teen Club." The Green Teen Club is reducing the amounts of Styrofoam and paper used throughout the cafeteria and classrooms.

FCCC first reached out to the GHS community in April, to potentially contribute to earth science classes at the high school. Upon speaking with school faculty, FCCC learned of the newly established Green Teen Club and recognized an opportunity to create a more meaningful and long-term partnership with the school.

In addition to presenting at a Green Teen Club meeting, FCCC invited the students to visit its facility on Earth Day, April 22. Students learned about Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards and regulations as well as alternatively fueled chassis manufactured by FCCC such as hybrid-electric, compressed natural gas and hydraulic hybrid vehicles.

Alternatively fueled chassis reduce engine emissions, carbon footprints and fuel consumption. FCCC is also helping students establish a recycling program that includes recycling centers in classrooms and around vending machines. FCCC worked with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Waste Minimization Office, an environmental protection organization working to help facilities improve their environmental performance through sustainable environmental initiatives, to visit the school and perform a waste stream analysis on May 6, 2009.

"It is so refreshing to have a company so willing to help others and improve its environmental impact, even in tough economic times," said Christina Cody, biology teacher at Gaffney High School. "We hope to learn from FCCC's efforts toward zero landfill waste. We hope that our students will continue to be environmentally aware whenever they join the workforce."

The Zero Waste to Landfill program results have earned FCCC several regional and statewide awards and recognitions, as well as partnerships with the EPA and South Carolina DHEC.

In March 2008, the FCCC plant was recognized by the EPA's WasteWise Program for its 2007 waste reduction achievements and was accepted as a WasteWise partner. WasteWise engages government, businesses and nonprofit organizations to educate others about the benefits of reducing solid waste.

In addition, FCCC was accepted into the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program (SCEEP) in January for the company's ongoing commitment to reducing waste and improving South Carolina's environment.

SCEEP is a voluntary initiative designed to recognize and reward South Carolina facilities that have demonstrated environmental performance through pollution prevention, energy and resource conservation and the use of an environmental management system.

Additionally, FCCC was honored recently by the South Carolina DHEC during the inaugural South Carolina Smart Business Recycling Program award luncheon for the company's ongoing commitment to recycling and waste reduction.

Overall waste-reduction statistics at the FCCC plant include:

"We've transformed our Zero Waste to Landfill program into a movement," Pennington said. "Teaching our children environmental responsibility will be the catalyst for change down the road, and we're working together with them to bring about a change in our culture."

FCCC is committed to not only reducing its environmental footprint with clean manufacturing efforts, but also to developing products that are green. FCCC launched ecoFRED(tm), the first hybrid-electric motorhome chassis, in December 2008; the MB-HEV, a hybrid-electric commercial bus chassis, in September 2008; and the first hydraulic hybrid chassis for the walk-in van market in March 2009. FCCC has also been manufacturing compressed natural gas (CNG) walk-in van chassis since 1996, liquid propane gas (LPG) commercial bus chassis since 1996 and hybrid-electric walk-in van chassis since 2001.

FCCC's environmental commitment is in line with Daimler AG's global initiative called "Shaping Future Transportation." Launched by Daimler in November 2007 in Stuttgart, Germany, the initiative is focused on building products that reduce category emissions pollutants, carbon dioxide and fuel consumption.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation manufactures premium chassis for the motor home, delivery walk-in van, and school bus and shuttle bus markets. Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.

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