“Using additives is an additional cost upon the asphalt,” explains Williams. “Part of our cost would then become beholden to the additive supplier to a small degree. It also means using chemicals, trucking in those chemicals and storing them and/or protecting them from storm water, etc. These are problems we did not want to take on. Besides the small upfront capital cost to putting in a foaming system, our foaming system only uses about a cup of water per ton of asphalt produced – meaning virtually no cost added to the mix, no purchases of chemicals and no challenges with chemical handling.”
Sustainability as a growth strategy
WMA and recycled mixes are just a small part of the many “green” changes BoDean is undergoing facing an evolving marketplace.
“Our site is paved and is sloped downward to the north,” says Williams. “By doing this, we allow the aggregates to drain and then we load the aggregates from the drier southern edge of the piles. By giving the piles of aggregates southern exposure, we utilize the sun to bake out the moisture in the rock. This practice saves a tremendous amount of money in drying costs. Every 1% moisture removed saves BoDean between 10% and 14% in energy costs.
“We also sell cold mix asphalt which is made from vegetable oils rather than straight petroleum-based oil,” he continues. “In late 2012 we also plan on constructing additional silo storage which will allow our batch plant to run in more of a ‘continuous’ fashion instead of intermittently which will save in natural gas consumption.”
Why emphasize sustainability as a growth strategy? Williams says it’s more than dollars and cents.
“Sustainability adds to our bottom line, but more importantly, and in a larger sense, it makes sense to use business practices that are built around sustainability,” he says. “By having this as a central core value we allow ourselves the ability to learn more and more how what we do affects those around us.
“Not recognizing this prevents us from seeing how what we do today may negatively affect future generations from enjoying the resources that we use today,” he continues. “It’s important that we protect our resources and use them in a way that does not compromise future generations, but instead adds value to these resources by building upon what we learn today by these practices. These practices therefore not only lead to personal growth as an individual, but also to corporate growth that synthesizes responsibility with profit.”
If people are sincere in their desire to go green, they will eventually realize many benefits, says Williams.
“The first benefit is a sense that you are doing something right for the future,” he says. “Secondly, since sustainability by definition means saving something instead of using it up and using something over and over again, that equals greater profitability. If we use less energy, we save money. If we recycle something instead of spending time and money to extract or create that product, then we are saving money. Going green shifts our notions of consuming something to saving something.
“When we shift to this understanding we become more ‘thrifty,’ and when times are tough economically, don’t we all want to become thriftier?” Williams asks. “This ‘thriftiness’ leads to bottom line savings, and slowly but surely, alters how we allocate resources.”
A bright future
The BoDean Company is definitely dedicated to sustainability and protecting our resources. With its strong commitment to the environment and continued emphasis on customer satisfaction, Williams sees a bright future ahead for the company.
“Early on, our greatest challenge for ‘going green’ has been cultural,” he notes. “In order to be truly green, it must become a part of your identity within the corporate culture. Everyone – from the bottom up – must begin to buy into what is being expressed by its leaders.”
Williams says this kind of culture change cannot be done overnight. “It can be achieved in baby steps, like putting up recycle receptacles throughout a work area, using compostable products or real utensils instead of disposable utensils, cups, plates etc.,” he says.
Even though BoDean has taken some rather large steps, like the solar project at the Mark West Quarry (see box on page 62), the company is still learning to take those baby steps.