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Operational Excellence

Footprint and Compliance

Our footprint is focused on the Americas, with a styrene plant in Louisiana and six polystyrene plants in Connecticut, Ohio, Illinois, California, and Colombia. Operating our facilities to the highest standards of compliance, safety, and productivity is our top priority. We embrace the Responsible Care® program, an international initiative to promote safe chemicals management and environmental, health, and safety (EH&S) leadership, and we embedded the principles in our Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS). Through Responsible Care®, we establish objectives to achieve and sustain industry-leading safety, security, and pollution prevention goals. We also review and adjust objectives periodically to continuously improve our performance.

OSHA has recognized our accomplishments to promote workplace safety and health, including VPP (Voluntary Protection Programs) Star status for our St. James and Marietta locations. We also successfully renewed our ISO 9001/Responsible Care 14001 certifications for all facilities in 2023. Successful third-party audits confirmed our quality and environmental management systems continue to meet required standards and reinforce our commitment to excellence.

Safety

The health and safety of our employees, contractors, and communities where we operate is our top priority. Every day, we strive for zero injuries and incidents while making products that make people’s lives better.

Employees and contractors are expected to make safe choices to prevent injury, illness, and process safety events. Each employee and contractor is empowered with stop-work authority to avoid unsafe acts and conditions. To ensure that all our contractors and vendors share our commitment to health and safety, we’ve implemented an information management system to evaluate and monitor safety, performance, and compliance. We train and empower cross-functional teams of experts to review any operating change in advance to identify potential hazards associated with a change, along with safe work procedures and audit protocols.

We are certified by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) as a Responsible Care® company, which recognizes industry leaders dedicated to ensuring the business of chemistry is safe, secure, and sustainable. Responsible Care® companies have a worker safety rating that’s nearly five times better than the U.S. manufacturing sector, and almost three times better than those in chemical manufacturing overall. Our safety record – as measured by the Recordable Incident Rate (RIR) – is in the top quartile of chemical companies in the ACC.

“Working safely is non-negotiable. We believe that we must work safely, or we should not work at all.”
Tim Watson
Vice President Environmental, Health, and Safety

AmSty Safety Record (RIR 36 mo. rolling)

0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
Q1 0.41
Q2 0.40
Q3 0.40
Q4 0.40
Q1 0.40
Q2 0.41
Q3 0.40
Q4 0.40
Q1 0.40
Q2 0.40
Q3 0.41
Q4 0.40
Q1 0.40
Q2 0.40
Q3 0.40
Q4 0.41
Q1 0.40
Q2 0.40
Q3 0.40
Q4 0.40
2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
  • ACC 1st Quartile
  • ACC 1st Decile

Across all of AmSty, we recently achieved more than three years without a process safety incident and two years without recordable injuries, and most individual AmSty locations have achieved many years consecutively without injury. For example, the Marietta plant has completed eight years safely, the Cartegena plant has completed six years without a recordable injury, and the Allyn’s Point plant has achieved five years without injury. Our commercial team that spends a lot of time on the road also has a stellar driving record with no AmSty-caused events in 2.5 million miles of windshield time since the formation of AmSty over 15 years ago.

We also have a strong track record for process safety, where we focus on potential hazards of working with chemicals and implement practices to avoid the risk of incidents and injury. Our practices follow Responsible Care® standards, including:

  • Demonstrating a visible and ongoing commitment to continual improvement.
  • Educating employees on the principles and benefits of process safety, and the implications of deviating from policy and procedures.
  • Documenting, prioritizing, and communicating process safety risks, along with the action plans and resources to mitigate them.
  • Sharing relevant process safety knowledge and lessons learned across the business.
  • Monitoring and reporting process safety performance.

We take great pride in our industry-leading safety performance. Even more importantly, we inspire, equip, and empower our team to operate in a way that fosters an accident-free workplace. Safety will always be our top priority.

Asset Utilization, Energy, Emissions

AmSty complies with all regulatory requirements and plans production to optimize efficiency and minimize raw materials, energy, and emissions. We ensure our emissions tracking and reporting processes are consistent, compliant, and standardized so they can be shared with stakeholders. We upgraded the emissions tracking software at our St. James plant to a more comprehensive, cloud-based system, which provides more seamless reporting to state and federal regulatory agencies. In 2023, we reported to both the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) and Ecovadis platforms.

CO2e Emissions
(metric tons)

800,000
600,000
400,000
200,000
0
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023

CO2e Emissions Intensity
(metric tons per million lbs of production)

200
150
100
50
0
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023

Overall, emissions have been steady on an intensity basis and varied on an absolute basis due to turnarounds or other down time.

Our St. James styrene plant accounts for 85% of all AmSty emissions and remains the focus for energy efficiency and emissions reduction projects. We’ve initiated capital projects at our St. James plant to redesign flare management, prevent steam leaks, upgrade the railcar fleet, and improve the efficiency of our boiler system. In addition to reliability benefits, these projects will also help reduce emissions.

The Marietta plant has completed a series of capital projects over multiple years to use more stable peroxides in the polymerization of styrene, leading to improved safety and reliability. Our locations have also transitioned to non-PFAS containing firefighting foam.

We are also looking to the future and embracing renewable energy where it’s reliable and economically viable. In early 2023, we installed 185 solar panels at our polystyrene plant in Cartagena, Colombia, which will generate more than 150,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy and reduce carbon emissions by over 30 tons annually. This represents another step forward in our ongoing journey to reduce emissions, and we will continue exploring similar opportunities across AmSty.

Reducing Waste

Reducing waste is clearly the right thing to do, and we make it a priority. We pursue waste reduction efforts in manufacturing, supply chain, and even with the end use of our products.

For example, our Hanging Rock, Ohio, plant started an improvement project in 2022 that reduced hazardous waste by nearly 10% in one year. We are working to expand that project to our plants in Joliet, Illinois, and Torrance, California. Once fully implemented, we expect to reduce total hazardous waste approximately 20% across our U.S. plants.

Energy efficiency is another key area where we are investing considerable resources at our St. James, Louisiana, plant to improve boiler performance and steam retention to eliminate energy waste and reduce emissions. When we complete a multi-year reliability improvement project at St. James by 2029, we expect to reduce energy usage and emissions by approximately 12% from a 2022 baseline.

Looking beyond our fence line, we continue working with a broad array of stakeholders to bring polystyrene recycling to scale, both on the collection side to improve recycling access, as well as innovative manufacturing technologies to repurpose used plastic into new polystyrene. The Polystyrene Recycling Alliance and our offtake agreement with Encina are examples of our commitment to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Protecting Water

Water resources required for polystyrene production are minimal and are used solely as a coolant for finished product after it leaves the reactor on the way to storage. Water is used more broadly in styrene production as a coolant and for steam. To improve efficiency and reduce water consumption, we invested capital at St. James to replace a cooling tower with state-of-the-art technology.

We take our commitment to water quality seriously and return water to the Mississippi River much cleaner than before we borrowed it. Ongoing water turbidity samples – a measure of the relative clarity of water – consistently show dramatic improvement from high turbidity (low clarity) in the range of 70 NTU in our incoming water supply at St. James to a very low turbidity (high clarity) of around 3 NTU in the water we return to the river.

AmSty is also a proud member of Operation Clean Sweep (OCS), a U.S.-originated campaign that has expanded internationally to help plastic pellet-handling locations achieve zero losses to protect water quality and wildlife. We have been recognized for excellence in OCS and invited to participate at an enhanced level in OCS Blue to further demonstrate our leadership commitment to protecting the environment.

Supply Chain

We manage our supply chain to optimize production at our facilities, minimize risk for customers, and uphold high standards of environmental performance. We plan production a year in advance to align manufacturing capacity and raw material supplies with customer demand. Our broad network of polystyrene plants allows us to secure the best geographical fit for customer orders and minimize transit distance.

AmSty embraces the environmental, health, and safety (EH&S) standards of Responsible Care® and utilizes a Vendor Code of Conduct to reinforce expectations of suppliers. We maintain a diverse and capable supplier base to ensure business continuity and utilize third-party experts to monitor the EH&S and ethics performance of suppliers.

We manage multiple modes of transportation and focus heavily on the safe transit of our products. In 2023, CSX Corporation recognized AmSty with a Chemical Safety Excellence Award. These awards recognized customers who shipped at least 600 carloads of hazardous materials annually with CSX for their outstanding contribution to safe transportation.

As we work to optimize the supply chain, we are also developing the capability to calculate greenhouse gas emissions to compare tradeoffs for different routes and modes of transportation.