“Waste-free products from waste-free facilities”
The zero waste vision has been gaining steam lately. One of the most important strategies for this involves designing products and factories that don’t have large amounts of waste created in the manufacturing, use, and disposal of the product. Since 1991, Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) has made significant progress in this area, often reducing waste by 90%.
Design for Reuse
The invention of interchangeable parts helped fuel the industrial revolution. The same concept can also greatly expands the end-of-use possibilities for products.
Instead of recycling parts, the many parts are cleaned, inspected, and put back to use. Products are designed with fewer parts and can be easily dissembled. According to Xerox, “A returned machine can be rebuilt as the same model through remanufacture, converted to a new model within the same product family, or used as a source of parts for next-generation models.”
Each part is built to last for numerous product life cycles and 70%-90% (of the products weight) is reused to make new products. This innovation requires forethought. Product families are designed with a core set of components that are used throughout.
The program has saved over 2 million pounds of waste from landfills. Remanufacturing is even better than recycling, because waste such as water and energy is also eliminated by not processing the materials.
In addition to the products themselves, printer use also generates a lot of waste. The Xerox Green World Alliance both remanufactures printer cartridges and recovers and reuses toner. These efforts add up. They recycled 1.3 million pounds of toner and 2.7 million cartridges and containers annually.
The only thing better than remanufacturing components is eliminating the need for them. The cartridge-free print sticks achieve this and eliminate waste by 90%.
All Xerox manufacturing facilities utilize the ISO 14001 environmental management system. Sites were certified in 1997, just one year after the ISO 14001 program was created. These facilities now boast over a 90% recycle rate for non-hazardous solid waste. Since 1991, there has been a 94% reduction in particular and toxic waste emitted from Xerox manufacturing plants.
Energy Use by Products
Long before the Energy Star certification was created, Xerox was manufacturing products with an automatic power-down mode. Since 1993, Xerox has created over 500 products with the Energy Star rating. Their goal is to have 90% of their new product introductions meet the criteria by 2010.
Although Xerox maybe a deep green, their products still consume paper. This is another area that has been well addressed. Xerox offers paper that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, a comprehensive sustainable forestry management program.
How Green is Xerox?
Xerox has made some major achievements in the area of sustainability and are pioneering the way in waste reduction. Numerous aspects of the impact of their products has been examined from the factory to the forest.
Xerox is a conspicuous green color. They might not be the first to come to mind for offering environmentally friendly products, but there is more substance behind their programs than most companies’ initiatives. Xerox’s achievements demonstrate that a new product can contain sturdy parts that are used over and over again, saving money and materials along the way.