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Waste reduction

Reducing waste supports our operations and our communities

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.

Our commitment to reducing waste sent to landfill

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.  

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:

  • Emphasize source reduction by reducing the total amount of waste generated and, where possible, by removing waste streams entirely.
  • Identify new suppliers, where possible, to divert remaining waste streams from a landfill. Zero-waste sites typically deploy a combination of recycling, re-use, composting and incineration (with energy recovery).
  • Engage employees to cultivate a culture where diverting waste from landfill is standard practice. Activities such as “dumpster dives,” suggestion boxes, games and prizes help to encourage participation.
  • Capitalize on efficiencies of scale. Best practices are shared among sites in specific regions or with similar operations. In North America, for example, our waste management broker helps identify common solutions for all our sites in the region.

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.

Number of Eaton sites to date that are zero waste-to-landfill
122
Number of Eaton sites to date that are zero waste-to-landfill
Number of metric tons that we reduced our waste to landfill in 2017, exceeding our goal
1,098
Number of metric tons that we reduced our waste to landfill in 2017, exceeding our goal
Since 2015, we’ve reduced waste sent to landfill by 8,300 metric tons - that’s more than 71,000 wheelie bins of trash
71k
Since 2015, we’ve reduced waste sent to landfill by 8,300 metric tons - that’s more than 71,000 wheelie bins of trash

Governance

Eaton is proud to have strong internal processes and controls for managing our sustainability performance. Many of these controls connect individuals and teams across our company and include management at each level of the organization.

View our governance map (Flash)

How we measure success

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 120 Eaton sites are zero waste-to-landfill.

Indexed to sales, our waste to landfill, which includes waste incinerated without heat recovery, decreased by 6.8% in 2017 compared to 2016. On an absolute basis, we decreased our generation by 4.2% (from 26,200 metric tons in 2016 to 25,000 in 2017), a total decrease of 1,098 metric tons.