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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Helping the environment

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Larry DeWitt, owner of DeWitt Company in Sikeston, poses with some of the business's products developed to reduce waste generation that are also environmentally friendly. The company is participating in a Missouri Enterprise environmental assessment program.
(Josh Mills, Staff)
SIKESTON -- A Sikeston company has launched a program to identify opportunity to reduce waste generation. The program will also improve productivity and operational cost savings.

DeWitt Company, manufacturer of landscaping products and plant fabrics used by professionals in the lawn and garden industry as well as homeowners, recently began the Lean, Clean and Green program, according to Rick Potter, CFO of Missouri Enterprise. The non-profit organization specializes in assisting small- and medium-size manufacturers. Missouri Enterprise is an organization composed of experienced manufacturing and management professionals who provide business and technical assistance to help Missouri companies succeed. It manages the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program in Missouri and one of the state's Innovation Centers.

"DeWitt Company decided to undertake the Lean, Clean and Green program for several reasons," said Potter, "We have a very strong commitment to being an environmentally friendly company in both our processes and products," he said, "but, also because we anticipate that this diagnostic program will result in recommendations that will generate bottom line cost savings."

DeWitt Company was founded by Larry DeWitt in 1977 and provides a full line of environmentally-safe landscape fabrics, knitted and woven shade cloth, ground cover, plant protection, erosion control and kennel covers. The company currently employs approximately 100 people in the Sikeston area.

"DeWitt Company is focused on safer, more responsible methods of pest control -- whether weeds, insects or water conservation," said Larry DeWitt. "We're heavily focused on that -- and really, it's something we always have been."

Jason Mitchell, manager, agreed. "Larry DeWitt's goal from the beginning was to make an impact on the environment that was both positive and affordable and promote that way of thinking in the industry and the general public," he said in a news release.

DeWitt said the entire industry is beginning to lean toward environmental friendliness and waste management. The company has several products, and will continue to develop them. Some include the Bighter Fighter, a new design of landscape fabric to prevent weeds from growing through, solar protection products, a Waspinator and more.

DeWitt spoke of the innovation of the products. For instance, the Waspinator doesn't kill the wasps, but prevents them from building nests in certain areas, such as near one's pool or their patio.

"It will chase them away instead of killing them -- they are beneficial. They are carnivores and eat bad bugs," DeWitt said of wasps. "So they'll be around, but they'll only be around doing the good things for you.

To begin the Lean, Clean and Green process, DeWitt Company officials will complete a questionnaire that helps establish a benchmark that shows how the company rates in nine critical areas, according to a Missouri Enterprise news release.

Next, one of Missouri Enterprise's Lean specialists will create a Value Stream Map to graphically illustrate the flow of material and information in the company's processes and the potential for improvement in DeWitt's manufacturing operations, energy conservation and reduction of waste material. Then, Missouri Enterprise will conduct an environmental assessment and records review and an energy consumption/conversation audit and on-site assessment, the news release said.

The environmental assessment and records review will focus on air emissions, waste water discharge, hazardous waste handling, solid waste disposal, recycling potential and indoor air quality. The assessment will include an on-site facility inspection that details overall energy consumption and energy conservation opportunities.

Missouri Enterprise will then use all the data collected to create a final report containing process improvement, energy consumption and waste generation and disposal opportunities that DeWitt Company can use to affect bottom line savings.

DeWitt Company is located at 909 S. Kingshighway in Sikeston. For more, contact them at 1-800-888-9669 or info@dewittcompany.com. Information is also available on the business' Web site, www.dewittcompany.com