Manufacturers 'think green and live green'

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio – Juzo USA took its sustainability efforts to a new level recently by installing a 141-foot wind turbine and 56 solar panels at its manufacturing facility here.

Together, these two initiatives will generate 50,000 kilowatts of electricity annually, according to the company, which makes compression therapy garments.

“We plan on being green in everything we do,” said Annerose Zorn, CEO of Juzo USA and the great-granddaughter of Julius Zorn, Sr., who founded the company. “Sometimes, it can be a little more expensive, but we go this way, anyway, because the benefits outweigh this.”

Another of Juzo’s recent efforts: Reintroducing prairie grasses that were native to the area 100 years ago. The grasses, which are drought-resistant, reduce irrigation needs and maintenance costs.

Juzo detailed these and other sustainability efforts in a press release on Earth Day on April 22. For the most part, though, the company has been trying to do its part industriously but quietly.

“This just started as a passion of mine,” Zorn said. “We haven’t really advertised it much. You have to think green and live green. It’s not about doing this or that. It’s a constant development process.”

Juzo’s facility and grounds also feature, among other things, a white membrane roof, a collection pond, a gravel parking lot, a motion-sensor lighting system, and hands-free faucets and hand dryers.

Juzo wasn’t the only HME manufacturer to make news on and around Earth Day. Kansas City-based Sizewise introduced a pediatric mattress that reduces harmful chemical exposure. It was a follow up to an adult mattress it introduced late last year.

“One of the things in the mattress world is you have to build a fire barrier and the fire barrier inherently has a lot of chemicals,” said Mary Nell Westbrook, chief marketing officer of Sizewise. “We’ve been able to take chemicals, like halogenated and brominated flame retardants, out of three layers: the fabric, the foam and the barrier.”

Individually, these efforts may not seem like much, but they add up, Zorn said.

“When you encompass all of these things together, it becomes something more,” she said. “If everyone thinks along those lines, we can accomplish a lot.”