Original Date: 10/20/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Hazardous Waste and Pollution Prevention
In 1990, the CEO of Northrop Grumman posted a challenge to reduce hazardous waste generation by 90% between 1990 and 1996. By meeting this challenge, the company would reduce corporate liability, operational costs, and employee/community exposure. The success of this senior-level direction was outstanding. Not only did Northrop Grumman meet this environmental goal by 1996, it also received 16 separate environmental excellence awards for its efforts (e.g., EPA’s Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award; California Water Pollution Control Association’s Industry of the Year; International Waste Management Board’s Waste Reduction Award). Several initiatives also influenced the company’s success such as process and equipment changes; material reuse and recycling; alternative materials; employee training; and activity tracking of hazardous materials.
Material specifications of airframes manufactured at Northrop Grumman created obstacles which would have been less severe in a commercial manufacturing atmosphere. These obstacles, although difficult, were not impossible. In fact, Northrop Grumman achieved a 99.99% reduction in ozone depleting chemical materials by 1996. Through its environmental activities, the company realized a 77% reduction in toxic air emissions by 1995, and a 100% reduction by 1996 (Figure 2-3). In addition, process changes enabled Northrop Grumman to achieve an 89% reduction in manifested hazardous waste by 1996 (Figure 2-4).
Upon reaching the environmental goals set in 1990, Northrop Grumman decided that these goals had not been set high enough. In 1997, the environmental technical activity thrust was split into three areas of concentration (waste minimization, chemical emissions reduction, and environmental design systems) to eliminate hazards at the source. Waste minimization set a new goal to reduce the company’s waste by another 50% by the year 2001. Chemical emissions reduction efforts continue to decrease all emissions of toxic chemicals. The environmental design systems group now uses computer aided design and data management to incorporate environmental considerations throughout the manufacturing processes.
Today, the environmental mind-set of Northrop Grumman’s employees enables them to look beyond traditional environmental ideas when designing their products and work areas. Northrop Grumman strives to achieve higher goals until all environmental impact has been completely eliminated.
Figure 2-3. Environmental Resources
Figure 2-4. Hazardous Waste Reduction
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