We focus our waste reduction efforts on diverting waste from the landfill in order to reduce our environmental footprint, conserve valuable operational resources and help the communities that we serve.
Our zero waste-to-landfill program has engaged our employees in sustainability and removed waste and GHGs from landfills in our local communities. It also supports our operational excellence and manufacturing efforts by focusing on redesigning our processes to eliminate waste.
In 2010 we committed to reducing our waste to landfill by 30 percent, indexed to sales, by 2015. We significantly beat that goal through the success of our zero waste-to-landfill program, reducing our landfilled waste by 44 percent during the period. In 2017, we will announce a new set of long-term goals that support our aspiration of being active stewards of the environment.
We encourage our facilities to achieve zero waste-to-landfill as part of their waste management program and also as a means to reduce the release of GHG associated with landfills, especially methane, a GHG 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
An Eaton facility is designated as a zero waste-to-landfill site when it consistently achieves a diversion rate of 98 percent through recycling, reuse, composting or incineration (when the heat generated is collected and used to create more energy than required for incineration). We modeled our zero-waste benchmark on standards set by an internationally recognized certifying organization.
Zero waste-to-landfill is a goal by our most-senior leadership. Our program prioritizes beneficial diversion (source reduction, then beneficial reuse, then recycling).
Eaton facilities participating in zero waste-to-landfill will:
Internal audits are conducted to ensure site compliance with the zero waste-to-landfill program benchmarks. Audits include validation of diversion rates, diversion methods and reported data.
All Eaton sites must manage waste responsibly in accordance with regulations and our internal EHS Management (MESH) standards, including identifying all waste streams and creating waste minimization plans.
Eaton is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of our operations and products wherever we do business, and to continuously improve in our Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) performance. It is the responsibility of every employee to meet this EHS policy.
To that end, Eaton applies a standard group of practices worldwide for ethics, energy and water consumption, waste generation, product quality, employee safety and more. We specifically direct our EHS efforts in the following areas:
The Eaton Senior Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety is responsible for implementing the EHS policy. The Eaton Board of Directors Governance Committee has oversight regarding significant public policy with respect to our relationships with shareholders, employees, customers, competitors, suppliers and the communities in which we operate. These issues include EHS concerns as outlined in the Eaton EHS policy.
Our emphasis on zero waste-to-landfill energizes our sites into action and has inspired them to reduce their waste sent to landfill in excess of our annual reduction percentage goals.
In 2014, the first year the program was launched, 15 of our sites were certified as zero waste-to-landfill. To date, over 100 Eaton sites are zero waste-to-landfill, and we achieved an absolute waste reduction of over 16 percent. Our overall waste reduction efforts removed roughly 6,000 metric tons of waste from the landfill, avoiding 5,300 metric tons of GHG emissions.