3M is committed to driving strong safety and environmental sustainability at our sites that manufacture fluorochemistries today.
Reducing our Footprint
3M plans to invest more than $1 billion to achieve our corporate environmental goals, which include reducing our facilities’ overall water use and improving the quality of water from our operations. These technologies can help make water we discharge cleaner than when it enters our fluorochemical manufacturing sites.
To achieve that goal, 3M’s team of engineers, scientists, and other experts are carefully evaluating and installing technologies – including those that capture water, filter and remove materials in water, and those that can help us recycle and reuse the amount of water in our operations overall – that can support the facility’s operations and needs.
Some of the technologies that help achieve these reductions include:
Granular Activated Carbon
- This is a proven technology that effectively removes PFAS like PFOA or PFOS from water. It works similarly to home water filters that people may recognize by capturing many PFAS molecules in a carbon filter. These filters may be regenerated for reuse, or if needed, disposed of safely.
- Reverse osmosis uses a scientifically advanced membrane to separate substances, including PFAS, from water. Water passes through the membrane while PFAS and other materials that may be present do not.
- Ion exchange uses a special resin, which is a bead-like material, that captures PFAS from water. When the resin has reached capacity, it can then be regenerated and reused multiple times or safely disposed of if needed.
- Thermal oxidation refers to pollution control technologies that help prevent air emissions of PFAS, as well as volatile organic compounds and greenhouse gases, using extremely high temperatures to break down molecules. 3M has or is currently installing these technologies at sites around the world, which will help us achieve our goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
3M’s Commitment to Science-driven Sustainability Investments
As we work to achieve our global environmental goals, we’ve also introduced enhanced 3M Environmental Standards for air emissions, waste management, and water discharges at sites worldwide. We’ll use the data from these programs to help inform our investments in new technologies.
- Water Management Standard: 3M sites collect quarterly samples of industrial wastewater and/or industrial stormwater. 3M shares this information with regulators and uses the data to help us understand better how our operations affect water quality.
- Air Quality Management Standard: Sites will proactively test and quantify air emissions to support our environmental goals and provide a greater understanding of how our operations affect air quality.
- Waste Management Standard: Sites will regularly test manufacturing waste and use enhanced storage processes to help standardize how we manage waste from our facilities.
Through collaboration and technology, we will have an enhanced understanding of our operations and, where needed, invest for the future.