FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 19, 2010
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer Highlight How Innovative Manufacturing Practices Make U.S. Firms More Competitive
Locke and Hoyer tour local company that has cut both waste and costs through sustainable practices
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer held a town hall meeting and toured The Matworks Company in Beltsville, Md., today to highlight how manufacturing companies can cut costs, increase competitiveness and reduce waste and pollution by adopting “green,” sustainable practices. The event was part ofa series of Sustainable Manufacturing American Regional Tours (SMARTs) organized by Commerce’s International Trade Administration to enhance awareness of sustainable manufacturing’s many benefits and help companies learn about best practices.
“What Matworks is doing every day through its innovative and sustainable manufacturing practices is critical to its success in this increasingly competitive global economy,” Locke said. “And it's a model we all need to take note of if we want manufacturing to be a central part of America's economic future and a driver of job creation.”
The Matworks Company, the nation’s leading provider of matting and specialty flooring, has successfully implemented a cost-saving, sustainable business model with help from the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The company fulfills its slogan "From your stores to our floors and back again," by taking existing flooring from its customers and sending it back to its raw materials suppliers for reprocessing and remanufacturing. This "cradle-to-cradle" practice is good for the environment, reduces raw material costs and enhances competitiveness.
“A robust manufacturing sector is critical to the recovery and sustainability of our economy, as well as the creation of good-paying jobs,” Hoyer said. “American manufacturers face unique challenges in the 21st century, and it is important that we work with them to implement strategies to confront those challenges and remain competitive. Resources developed by the Department of Commerce and supported by Congress aim to do just that, helping manufacturers identify and take advantage of opportunities to succeed in today’s economy.”
The MEP’s work with Matworks, along with SMART events, are part of the Commerce Department’s Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative, which is aimed at identifying U.S. industry’s most pressing sustainability challenges and coordinating public- and private-sector efforts to address those challenges. SMART events include manufacturing facility tours in various U.S. cities with 30-40 businesses organized by the International Trade Administration’s Manufacturing and Services division. The tours are designed to showcase successfully implemented sustainable manufacturing and other related business practices to members from the local business community and public sector.
SMART also highlights the Sustainable Business Clearinghouse, an online and user-friendly database of virtually all federal government programs and resources that assist businesses in their sustainability efforts, whether their needs are tax incentives or technical assistance.
For more information on the Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative, other regional tours, or the Sustainable Business Clearinghouse, please visit: www.manufacturing.gov/sustainability .