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P3 Summer Intern Leads to Cost Savings at Drug Manufacturer


Zoetis, LLC, is an American drug company, the world’s largest producer of medicine and vaccinations for pets and livestock. The company directly markets its products in approximately 45 countries, and sells them in more than 100 countries. The Lincoln, Nebraska, location is one of Zoetis' largest internal manufacturing operations, employing approximately 950 people. Zoetis produces BOVI-SHIELD GOLD® and RESPISURE ONE® for livestock and RIMADYL® (carprofen) for dogs at the Lincoln facility.  

Recently Zoetis marked the completion of a 19,000-square-foot, three-story expansion in Lincoln. The expansion houses the global manufacturing operations for a new monoclonal antibody product which treats dog otheoarthiritis. Zoetis launched a “Driven to Care” sustainability initiative in 2021.

The Challenge

The Nebraska MEP, part of the MEP National Network™, in conjunction with the University of Nebraska (UNL) College of Engineering, reached out to Jack Coogan, Director of Environmental Health & Safety, to ask for a letter supporting the Partners In Pollution Prevention (P3) program. During these discussions Zoetis realized that they had previous success using summer interns through this program and could likely benefit from doing this again in the summer of 2022. Jack mentioned that he felt that there were a number of source reduction issues that would be a great fit for an intern to investigate. 

Matthew Jorgensen of the Nebraska MEP created a scope of work (SOW) with Coogan to have a summer intern work at Zoetis in 2022.  The SOW defined an intern project to reduce plant operational costs and environmental footprint by evaluating ways to decrease overall waste generation, energy demand and water demand.

The UNL P3 Program has provided terrific interns to Zoetis for over a decade. The students are very motivated and their project work is always first rate. I highly recommend utilizing this program.
— Jack Coogan, Director, Environmental Health & Safety

MEP's Role

During the summer of 2022 Brenna Wright, an intern from the P3 program at UNL, investigated several pollution prevention opportunities for Zoetis in Lincoln, Nebraska. While assessing the compressed air system in the facility, the P3 intern detected several compressed air leaks. It was recommended that Zoetis purchase an ultrasonic leak detector to locate and repair these leaks. Additionally, a recommendation was made to purchase a system evaporator to reduce the volume of hazardous/special waste generated from the equipment rinses in pharmaceutical production.

These recommendations increased the energy efficiency of the Lincoln site, producing cost savings and better compliance with industry regulations. It also eliminated the need to bring in more expensive external detection and maintenance services.

Created October 6, 2023, Updated October 17, 2023