Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2008 (Revised May 2017)

Cook Composites and Polymers Co.

by Deishin Lee, Michael W. Toffel and Rachel Gordon


This case describes how a company improves resource efficiency and process quality in its manufacturing process by developing a waste by-product into a new product. The case describes how CCP cleans production equipment between batches using styrene, which becomes a costly hazardous waste. Having worked on minimizing waste for the past 20 years, CCP believed it could not reduce the use of styrene without risking product quality. Instead, CCP was exploring the development of a by-product from its "rinse styrene," but faces uncertainty regarding the operational, financial, and environmental implications of doing so. This case contains data to support quantitative analyses of financial, operational, and environmental issues including some basic life-cycle analysis (LCA) calculations that focus on greenhouse gas emissions.

Keywords: Innovation and Invention; Product Development; Business Processes; Performance Efficiency; Natural Environment; Wastes and Waste Processing; Pollution and Pollutants; Environmental Sustainability; Chemical Industry; Manufacturing Industry;


Lee, Deishin, Michael W. Toffel, and Rachel Gordon. "Cook Composites and Polymers Co." Harvard Business School Case 608-055, June 2008. (Revised May 2017.)