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Waste

Over the past six years, we reduced our non-hazardous waste to landfill by 31% — achieving our 2020 target of 30% — and reduced the amount of hazardous waste generated by 3%. Building on our success of achieving zero waste to landfill at 27 of our manufacturing sites in 2019, we are committing to zero waste to landfill across the company by 2030.

As part of our waste management strategy, we incorporate end-of-life considerations, such as the recyclability of materials used, in product design and development. We also work with our manufacturing sites to reuse and recycle waste, which conserves natural resources, reduces pollution and creates cost-saving opportunities for our business.

Packaging materials is the primary waste our manufacturing facilities send to landfill. To achieve zero waste to landfill, we need to continue increasing our returnable packaging program and evaluate options to participate in returnable packaging cooperatives, in addition to expanding our network of global recycling partners. In our supply chain, we are assessing corporate Procurement Standards to restrict once-used packaging for our preferred suppliers.

Although our recycling rate decreased slightly by 0.7% compared to 2018, we recycled 4 pounds for every pound of non-hazardous waste sent to landfill. Our total solid waste disposed was 13,996 metric tons.

We also joined a project led by the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (U.S. BCSD), which aims to develop materials marketplaces using industrial ecology to help business exchange and source materials part of their industrial waste streams. Some of our manufacturing sights are participating in U.S. BCSD state marketplaces. This work contributes to six of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8)
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9)
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11)
  • Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12)
  • Climate Action (SDG 13)
  • Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17)

Read more about our approach to product life cycle and materials management.

Waste Data* (units: metric tons) 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Total hazardous waste generated 1,475  1,637  1,346  1,189  1,257  1,510  1,133
Normalized hazardous waste (metric tons/million USD) 0.089 0.104  0.095  0.088 0.094  0.117  0.092
Total non-hazardous waste generated 12,521 11,592  9,418  9,616  9,841  10,310  12,839
Normalized non-hazardous waste (metric tons/million USD) 0.754 0.740  0.663  0.712  0.740  0.800  1.040
Non-hazardous waste to landfill 8,044 7,014  7,113  7,667  8,259  8,927  8,620
Normalized non-hazardous waste to landfill (metric tons/million USD) 0.485  0.448  0.501  0.568  0.621  0.692  0.698
Non-hazardous waste recycled 32,128  32,352  28,326  26,943  25,132  26,080  23,362
Normalized non-hazardous waste recycled (metric tons/million USD) 1.936  2.065  1.995  1.994  1.889  2.023  1.892

*Slight adjustments made to previously reported data for 2013-2017 to reflect changes in our operational footprint.

Bold Commitments. Tangible Progress.

Thinking Differently to Increase Recycling

Tackling tough sustainability challenges is a priority for us. But we can’t do it alone. That’s why it’s so important to collaborate with our great partners to make changes. We established new partnerships to increase our recycling; our partners helped us get Trane sites in Tyler, Texas, and Vidalia, Georgia, ready to begin 2020 with new waste segregation and bulking processes — meaning plastics and cardboard will be successfully recycled by third-party commodity users. At our corporate campus in Davidson, North Carolina, we implemented an enhanced single-stream recycling program. It captures all non-hazardous waste generated in the offices and cafeterias and converts it to engineered fuel used by cement kilns and other high-energy fuel-fired industries.