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    Altria has set a goal to reduce the environmental impact of our businesses and to promote the sustainability of the natural resources on which they depend. Click here to learn more about our strategy, programs, progress and recognition as it relates to the environment. 
    Recycling In The Factory
    To cite an example, recycling has long been part of Philip Morris USA’s (PM USA) manufacturing system, but recent efforts to engage employees in the process have led to some significant improvements. In particular, the creation of a WASTE team (Workers Agreeing to Stop Trashing the Environment) has helped employees see how their personal recycling efforts can be transferred to their work lives.
    The Manufacturing Center always has recycled certain cardboards, obsolete materials, waste tobacco, and hazardous and regulated waste, according to Derek Mueller, Environmental Engineer, PM USA. Recently the Manufacturing Center (located in Richmond, VA) increased its recycled/beneficial reuse to 85 percent of its total waste, up from 75 percent. In January, with the help of the WASTE team, the Manufacturing Center took its recycling efforts directly to the factory floor, providing containers for segregating cardboard cores, mixed paper, blanks, roll labels, cartons, and shrink wrap. In the first half of 2010, the Manufacturing Center had increased its recyclable materials by 3,560 tons.
    Recycling Plastics
    Each plastic bail to be recycled weighs one ton.  That is the equivalent of 68,209 plastic bottles. Each year, Philip Morris USA (PM USA) recycles 16 of these bails or the equivalent of 1,091,344 plastic water bottles.
    Recycling Batteries
    All expended batteries from radios, test equipment and pagers are collected in the supply area where new batteries are obtained. Expended larger batteries are also collected for recycling from forklifts, golf carts and maintenance equipment.
    Making Recycling Easy
    Throughout the factory, there are recycling bins in strategic places to make recycling easy.  In this case, a black plastic packaging part called a “core spacer” is discarded. By placing the recycle bin right there, PM USA ensures the discarded core spacer will get to the larger recycling collection area.
    Recycling Light Bulbs
    Florescent bulbs of all types are collected for recycling. 100 percent of these bulbs are recycled. The glass, aluminum, copper and even the mercury! Through an advanced process, the mercury vapor is re-condensed into liquid and captured.
    Recycling Cardboard
    Every year, PM USA recycles 15 million pounds of cardboard boxes and packaging
    Composting Discarded Leaf
    Tobacco leaf waste is collected and composted into rich organic soil.
    Reclaiming Oils & Lubricants
    All efforts are made to reclaim oils and lubricants throughout the factory.  These large blue holding tanks are sent to a recycling plant whose mission is to take this old, dirty oil and reprocess it into clean useful products. This ensures that the oil leaving our facilities never comes in contact with the environment.
    The Natural Water Treatment System
    Philip Morris USA (PM USA) operates a tobacco processing facility (Park 500) on the James River, just south of Richmond VA, in Chesterfield County. The PM USA Park 500 facility processes tobacco materials for blending into final product. Wastewater from this process is collected and treated using biological and chemical treatment processes. Even though the prior waste water treatment process was in compliance with discharge requirements, PM USA wanted to further reduce the “environmental footprint” of the Park 500 facility and decided to incorporate a natural treatment system into the wastewater treatment process.
    The initial project objectives included 1) additional treatment capability to the existing waste water treatment process, 2) a reduction of nutrient loading to the James River, 3) habitat diversity and ecological benefits and 4) future training and education for staff, students, and regulatory personnel.
    Years of planning comes alive
    In 2006 executives at PM USA started a feasibility study to explore building a natural way of cleaning the waste water from the Park 500 processing facility. In 2007 construction started and by 2008 the facility was up and running.
    The Natural Water Treating System
    Six cells make up two parallel trains of three cells each. These cells cover a total of 48 acres and clean 1.2 million gallons of water per day. This photo was taken after the end of the second full growing season. Plants and microorganisms are key to the nutrient removal process.
    The primary purpose of this project was to filter out nutrients and pollutants from water leaving the waste treatment facility.
    Plant Uptake of Nutrients
    Water containing particulate and pollutants spread throughout plant life in the shallow water. Pollutants tend to settle and are trapped by the slower water. These particulates contain oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus, and trace levels of metals and organics. These insoluble pollutants are absorbed by soils, and active microbial and plant populations throughout the wetland environment.
    Large Diversity of Plant Species
    Twenty-two species of plants were carefully placed in the new wetlands.  These include shallow water plants such as water plantain, duck potato, soft stem and hard stem bulrush, wool grass and swamp rose mallow. Twenty-five other plant species were used on the dry land surrounding the ponds. These included oak, redbud, crab apple and shrubs such as viburnums.
    A wonderful added benefit to this treatment facility project is the complex ecosystem that has developed around the facility. Even though thousands of plants were carefully selected and planted, natural bio diversity has taken over.
    Why is this important?
    Tobacco wastewater contains naturally occurring nitrogen and phosphorus, which, if not reduced, can result in algal blooms, adversely impacting aquatic life and polluting surface water sources. Park 500 is the only known application of a natural wetland system to treat tobacco wastewater.
    The Governers' Award
    In 2009, PM USA was a gold medal recipient of the Virginia Governors’ Environmental Excellence Award. The award recognized the significant contributions of environmental and conservation leaders in environmental projects, environmental programs and land conservation. The program has resulted in solid waste landfill reduction of 1 million pounds per month, a 50 percent reduction in monthly steam use, a 40 percent reduction in electricity use and a monthly reduction in water use of 10 million gallons.
    Global Water Intelligence Award
    In 2010, PM USA was recognized at the prestigious Global Water Intelligence Awards in Paris, France. The award was given by the publisher of the Global Water Intelligence Report and owner of the website and was presented by Queen Noor of Jordan.