Original Date: 05/01/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Site Recycling Efforts
In the past, non-hazardous waste at Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division (DSD) was not sorted before being hauled away by a trash collector. By allowing recyclable items to be mixed with general waste, the company incurred increased refuse costs and failed in its environmental responsibility to the community. To resolve this situation, the company set up a Recycling program in 1992.
The Recycling program initially focused on white paper which was the simplest and offered the best return for Northrop Grumman DSD. The company instituted this effort incrementally by announcing the program through articles in company-wide flyers and newsletters; providing individual recycling containers at each desk; and placing larger plastic recycling collection containers in high-volume waste areas such as copier machines or reproduction sites. The program expanded when the recycling waste hauler offered to take aluminum cans in the same container as the white paper, as long as the cans were double-bagged. To facilitate this initiative, Northrop Grumman DSD strategically placed aluminum can containers in cafeterias and near vending machines, so that employees would have convenient locations to recycle empty cans. Today, the company has many recycling initiatives including periodicals, newspapers, wooden pallets, toner cartridges, glass and plastic bottles, fluorescent bulbs, and scrap metals.
The company strives to minimize employee effort by enlisting support from its janitorial service contractor. Janitors empty the larger collection bins located throughout the facility and transport the recyclable materials to a single collection point for the recycling waste hauler to collect. This approach increased the company’s janitorial contract by only 0.5%. By minimizing the efforts required by the employees to support the Recycling program, Northrop Grumman DSD gets a fairly high level of compliance in return.
Northrop Grumman DSD’s direct-rebate savings from the white paper recycling amounted to $5,000 in 1992, reaching a peak of $15,000 in 1996. Although these rebate savings are declining due to falling paper prices, the removal of recyclable items from the general wastestream has produced a 25% reduction in mixed waste pickups. Additionally, the company has increased employee awareness on recycling and fosters environmental responsibility as a member of the community.
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