Waste reduction through the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ approach was one of the earliest and most fundamental areas of focus for us on our journey to reduce our environmental impacts, and it remains a core aspect of our efforts today.
We re-imagine a future in which:
As part of our overall operations goal, we are committed to reducing the waste from our operations by 10% by 2015, compared to our 2006 baseline level.
We implement the uniform waste management framework based on the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, “Waste Management” standard. Our global waste generation has decreased, despite growth in our business, thanks to improved waste management efforts, including recycling scrap and spent materials.
Through recycling efforts we have increased our diversion of waste sent to landfills and incineration without energy recovery. Our recycling efforts include a variety of waste materials that can be found across our offices (e.g. toner cartridges, office paper), dining areas (e.g. plastic, aluminum, glass), manufacturing and lab spaces (e.g. glass, mixed plastics, cardboard, nitrile gloves).
Composting of post-consumer, otherwise known as "front of the house," food waste is available at three of our sites: Cork, Ireland; Bedford, Massachusetts; and MilliporeSigma U.S. Headquarters building in Billerica, Massachusetts. Other sites, such as Danvers, Massachusetts, participate in what is known as "back of the house" composting. This includes any food waste generated by the kitchen staff. Numerous dining facilities across the U.S. are stocked with compostable consumables, including everything from compostable dishware and utensils to compostable cups.
We consistently look for source reduction opportunities in order to reduce the amount of waste we generate. For example, our solvent reduction and recovery program has helped us to recover 87% of the solvents used in our manufacturing processes. In addition, we installed high efficiency Dyson hand dryers in the majority of our Massachusetts sites and in Cork, Ireland, reducing paper towel waste. Another key area of our source reduction is the result of an innovative partnership between our Bedford, Massachusetts facility, a local water treatment facility and local officials. Working together, we reuse excess spent methanol from our manufacturing process as a valuable resource for municipal water treatment.
In addition, our printer fleet has been reduced and consolidated to centrally located, multi-function printers with Secure Print Release enabled. Secure Print Release is not only a print security feature, but it also allows for cancellation of print jobs that were sent to the printer prematurely. Our IT team is working to default all non-production related printers to monotone, double-sided printing as the default setting, allowing users to change to single-sided, color temporarily for special jobs.