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ASTM International


New Subcommittee Formed to Develop ASTM Sustainability Standards

Proposed standards will increase confidence in manufacturer claims

Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 10:52

(ASTM: West Conshohocken, PA) -- To facilitate the development and use of sustainable manufacturing processes, ASTM International’s Committee E60 on Sustainability has created a new subcommittee, E60.13 on Sustainable Manufacturing. The new group will hold its first meeting during Committee E60’s October 2012 meeting in Atlanta.

Sustainable manufacturing has become an ongoing topic of discussion across a wide range of industries. Consisting of processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and other natural resources, sustainable manufacturing also incorporates economically sound processes that are safe for employees, communities, and consumers.

According to Amy Costello, environmental sustainability manager at Armstrong World Industries and E60.13 chairman, Subcommittee E60.13 evolved out of a presentation on the nature of sustainable manufacturing given by representatives of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) during the April 2012 E60 committee meeting. The purpose of the presentation was to discuss the need for sustainable manufacturing standards and E60’s potential role in developing those standards.

“As manufacturers embark on the journey of benchmarking and developing sustainability metrics, they will quickly realize that they are in uncharted territory,” says Costello. “While there are many sources of information about sustainable manufacturing, few standards exist.”

Costello notes that the subcommittee will develop standards that manufacturers can use to benchmark, assess, act on, and communicate sustainability metrics, including standards for evaluating, improving, and measuring gate-to-gate processes in the production of finished goods.

The following proposed standards will be the first to be developed by Subcommittee E60.13
ASTM WK35702—“Practice for materials and energy information modeling for sustainable products”
ASTM WK35703—“Terminology for sustainable manufacturing”
ASTM WK35705—“Guide for sustainability improvement of manufacturing processes”
ASTM WK38312—“Specification for the classification of manufacturing wastes and associated claims”

Costello says that the standards will play an important role in helping manufacturers communicate the sustainability of their processes and increase consumer confidence in manufacturer claims.

“For example, is Company A’s claim to be a net-zero waste facility the same as Company B’s claim?” asks Costello. “How is waste determined within a manufacturing facility? Is it just the material that you send to the landfill or do you count material that is incinerated, too? Standardizing this type of basic language and creating standards to evaluate and measure processes will help both manufacturers and consumers.”

ASTM International welcomes participation in the development of its standards. For more information on becoming an ASTM member, visit www.astm.org/JOIN.

ASTM International is one of the largest international standards development and delivery systems in the world. ASTM International meets the World Trade Organization (WTO) principles for the development of international standards: coherence, consensus, development dimension, effectiveness, impartiality, openness, relevance, and transparency. ASTM standards are accepted and used in research and development, product testing, quality systems, and commercial transactions.


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ASTM International

ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. Today, some 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence within R&D, product testing, quality systems, and commercial transactions. ASTM International meets the World Trade Organization principles for the development of international standards: coherence, consensus, development dimension, effectiveness, impartiality, openness, relevance, and transparency.