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DaimlerChrysler Honors Environmental Ideas from Employees, Suppliers

Auburn Hills, MI and Stuttgart, Germany - By saving more than $100 million, eliminating more than 60 million pounds of waste and reducing emissions, DaimlerChrysler employees are demonstrating that environmental responsibility makes good business sense.

These cost savings and benefits are quantified by 10 employee teams who were honored by DaimlerChrysler with this year's Environmental Leadership Awards (ELA). The ELA is an annual competition sponsored by Daimler-Chrysler for its employees and supplier partners. The 10 finalists were chosen from 108 entries representing eight countries around the world. The awards recognize and reward employees and suppliers for innovative ideas that achieve one of the fundamental corporate objectives of DaimlerChrysler— environmental responsibility.

Following are descriptions of the five winning entrants:

The Chrysler Group worked with Gage Products and Valvoline to develop a process to redistill and then use recycled engine coolant at its 11 U.S. and Canadian assembly plants. Through this process, more than 60 million pounds of used ethylene glycol (EG) is not released into the environment for each model year that the extended life coolant is used. The use of this redistilled coolant also saves 10 cents per gallon, and encourages the collection of used coolant. As a result of this project, newly developed standards for extended life coolant are being considered by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

In Sindelfingen, Germany, employees and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (a South African research council) developed a process to use sisal fibers locally found in South Africa to produce the fiber-reinforced rear shelves for the Mercedes C-Class built in South Africa. The rear shelf contains 70 percent natural fibers of locally produced sisal and cotton. Originally implemented in 1994 in Brazil, this project was further developed in Germany as a replacement for glass fibers, which improves environmental compatibility for production and natural fiber consumes only about one third of the energy that is required for glass fiber production.

Over an eight year period of time, the Chrysler Group, PPG Industries and BASF Coatings Division made significant changes to paint materials and processes at assembly plants in Belvidere, Illinois, Sterling Heights, Michigan, Newark, Delaware, St. Louis, Toledo, Ohio and Jefferson North in Detroit and Warren Truck in Warren, Mich. These changes reduced the emissions of hazardous air pollutants, volatile organic compounds, toxic release inventory substances and hazardous waste, resulting in improvements in air quality in the communities near the plants. This innovation also saved $70 million and was recognized by the Council on Economic Priorities, SAE Environmental Excellence in Transportation Award and Governor's award.

The Chrysler Group created a solvent management partnership along with its supply partners to create a group-wide process to manage solvents and cleaners in the paint shops of all 11 U.S. and Canadian assembly plants. The process created a single point of accountability for materials and control of regulated emissions, resulting in significant reductions in waste, volatile organic compound emissions, and reduced costs for solvents and cleaners. This project also was recognized by SAE Environmental Excellence in Transportation Award.

In partnership with suppliers, the World Bank and the United Nation Development Programs/Global Environment Facility, DaimlerChrysler developed a clean air initiative in Brazil. This project involved two initiatives, the first being fuel cell buses for urban transportation in Latin American cities. The second was a program that focused on reversing the deterioration of urban air quality resulting from rapid urbanization, increased vehicle transportation and industrial production by bringing together the efforts of leaders from the various disciplines. These efforts have improved air quality and can be used as a model for expansion into other countries. This has also resulted in the development of a clean technologies resource which will provide comprehensive information on cleaner vehicles and fuel technologies.

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