Like many companies, Hypertherm is working hard to lessen our environmental impact. One of our goals is to become a zero landfill waste organization by 2020. When we set the goal in 2010, we honestly had no idea how we were going to get there. Setting a goal with no clear path isn’t something we normally do; however in this case, we strongly believed we needed to do this. It was right for the environment and right for Hypertherm.
Fortunately, several years into our journey, we are seeing progress. One of things we did is convert to a full-scale Zero-Sort recycling process. Today all of our recyclables go into one container. The Zero-Sort process has also enabled us to recycle materials we couldn’t before, like #7 plastic packaging and #5 yogurt containers. In addition, we’ve started a composting program. A local farmer now collects leftover food waste from our cafeteria and even paper towels from our bathrooms further reducing our waste.
At the same time, we’ve realized that the best waste of all is the waste we never see. So, now we’re on a major, multi-year project to eliminate waste from entering our facilities in the first place. Supply base managers are busy working with our supply chain on a reusable container system and working through simple elimination or substitution of unnecessary or non-recyclable packaging. Parts, which in the past might have arrived individually wrapped in plastic, now arrive in reusable containers that we empty and return. Paper cups and plastic utensils in our cafeteria have given way to ceramic mugs and metal flatware.
In total, Associates from across our organization managed projects that diverted 70,000 pounds of waste from the landfill last year. That’s the weight of 27 Honda Civics. You can read more about these efforts and the other things we're doing in our new 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility report available now at www.hypertherm.com/csr/.