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Ryan McNatt helps Boeing employees in Salt Lake City cut the amount of chemicals they use. That helps reduce how much chemical waste is created.

Improving the environment, one day at a time

What does Ryan McNatt do at work? In the big scheme of things, he helps Boeing run more efficiently -- and improve its environmental performance.

McNatt, a chemical management specialist at the Boeing site in Salt Lake City, handles tasks such as helping fellow employees cut the amount of chemicals they use. His actions illustrate what Boeing employees do every day to support the environment. As shown in Boeing's 2010 Environment Report, these activities are making a difference. In fact, on a revenue-adjusted basis, Boeing has reduced hazardous waste generation 38 percent since 2002, according to this report.

"It's the best job I ever had."

McNatt, who's certified in Hazardous Waste Operations, said he's proud of the part he plays at this Boeing location -- which in 2009 won the state of Utah's Green Business Award.

"We 'right size' everything so we aren't wasting chemicals -- ordering smaller amounts at the right time, just in time," McNatt said. That means the site is not storing, exposing or creating more hazardous waste.

McNatt is part of the Salt Lake City site's Green Team, the Boeing phrase for employee-led groups that find ways to improve the company's environmental performance. Among the ideas this team has rolled out: To reduce plastics usage, they gave the factory's employees reusable water jugs so they don't have to buy bottled water.

The Salt Lake City facility, thanks in large part to its Green Team, became the first Boeing location to send zero manufacturing waste to landfills. The site now recycles more than 24 tons of cardboard, more than 4 tons of plastic and virtually every piece of metal.

"The Green Team is all about reducing our environmental footprint," McNatt said. "Lots of these materials can be used to produce more energy."

McNatt said he knows "this is not an overnight process. It's all about continuous improvement. It's all of us making the change, not just the Green Team. I love my work. It's the best job I've ever had."

In 2008, Boeing set some aggressive five-year goals to improve its environmental performance. The newest version of Boeing's annual Environment Report explains how the company is doing in reaching its aggressive environmental-performance goals -- and what it's done to improve the environmental performance of its products.Click here to read the report.