Waste Prevention and Management

Our waste-free commitment is to produce waste-free products in waste-free facilities that promote waste-free customer workplaces. Our aim is to design products, packaging and supplies that make efficient use of resources, minimize waste, reuse material where feasible and recycle what can’t be reused. To meet this commitment, Xerox has put in place several programs:

  • Xerox’s Green World Alliance initiative provides a collection and reuse/recycling program for spent imaging supplies.
  • Xerox’s Product Takeback and Recycling program manages equipment at end of life.
  • Xerox facilities manage their operations to our waste-free commitment as described in the “Environmental Performance in Xerox Facilities” section of this report.
  • Xerox is investing in waste-free technologies. Our solid ink imaging process utilizes compact “cartridge-free” solid ink sticks with no plastic housings or casings, thereby reducing print-related waste by up to 90% compared with comparable color laser products.

Breakthrough Xerox Multifunction Printer Reduces Waste by 90%

The Xerox ColorQube™ 9200 Series multifunction printer uses Xerox’s proprietary solid ink technology to lower the environmental impact of office printing. The cartridge-free design generates 90% less supplies waste and reduces the effects of manufacturing and transportation on the environment. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the ColorQube and a comparable laser device estimated that the ColorQube series uses 9% less life cycle energy and produces 10% fewer life cycle greenhouse gases than a comparable laser device. The study underwent peer review by the Rochester Institute of Technology to confirm that it adhered to generally accepted LCA methodologies.

Solid ink technology, which has been used in Xerox desktop printers for more than a decade, creates an image by applying melted ink to paper where it instantly solidifies. Each printer in the Xerox ColorQube 9200 Series features four print heads that can jet more than 150 million drops of ink per second, enabling speeds from 38 pages per minute (ppm) up to 85 ppm. With only one customer replaceable unit (no fuser, drum, etc.), the printer is easy to maintain and lowers operating costs. All of the remaining parts, including the print head, are designed to last the lifetime of the multifunction device. The series also meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's rigorous new ENERGY STAR® requirements.

Xerox Green World Alliance
The Xerox Green World Alliance reuse/recycle program for imaging supplies is central to our commitment to waste-free products. This partnership with Xerox customers resulted in more than 2.2 million cartridges and toner containers being returned in 2009. Although the Green World Alliance program is one of the industry’s oldest consumables returns programs, Xerox continues to evaluate customer needs and implement improvements to the program. For example, in early 2010, a bulk returns process was introduced; it enables customers to return pallet-size quantities (30 or more cartridges) with a single label, thus simplifying the customer’s role while reducing transportation impact. Xerox, on an ongoing basis, monitors customer feedback and industry best practices to stay on the path of continuous improvement.

Xerox Green World Alliance: Total Waste Diverted from Landfills from Cartridges, Bottles and Waste Toner through Reuse/Recycle

Note: 2008 number is restated from 2009 report due to inadvertent omission of data from one site.

Well-Established Collecting and Reprocessing Methods
Prepaid postage labels and packaging from new supplies allow customers to return spent materials to Xerox for reuse and recycling. Return labels for toner containers are available from Xerox upon request or by downloading a prepaid label from Returned products are cleaned, inspected and then remanufactured or recycled. Remanufactured cartridges, containing an average of 90% reused/recycled parts, are built and tested to the same performance specifications as new products. Similarly, waste toners that qualify for reuse may account for 25% of the weight of new toner, without compromising toner functionality. Reusing waste toner saves several million dollars in raw material costs each year.

Product Take-Back and Recycling
Begun in the early 1990s, Xerox has pioneered the practice of converting end-of-life electronic equipment into products and parts that contain reused parts while meeting new product specifications for quality and performance. We have developed a comprehensive process for taking back end-of-life products, and have established a remanufacture, parts reuse and recycling program that fully supports our waste-free initiatives.

Our approach to managing products at end of life translates into significant environmental and financial benefits. Our combined returns programs (equipment remanufacture in conjunction with parts and consumables reuse and recycling) prevented over 45,000 metric tons of waste from entering landfills in 2009 alone.

With the implementation of the European Union’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, Xerox will continue to operate its European take-back program to enable equipment remanufacturing and parts reuse. It also participates, as needed, in European member states’ individual collection and recycling programs.

The annual trend in reduction in waste diverted from landfills since 2004 is due in part to changes in product mix, design of lighter-weight machines and growth of regulatory-driven local recycling schemes. For example, the transition to digital equipment and lighter-weight parts has reduced the weight of both office and production equipment by as much as 50% over the last 10 years. The decline also represents a decrease in the number of office machines returned for remanufacturing in Europe due to participation in EU member state WEEE programs. In geographies where Xerox exercises direct control over the end-of-life management of equipment, return rates are high. For example, approximately 95% of the equipment sold through direct channels in the U.S. is ultimately returned to Xerox for end-of-life disposition.

Waste Diverted from Landfills through Equipment Remanufacture and
Parts Reuse

Returned products that cannot be remanufactured are designated as equipment waste. Xerox equipment recovery/recycle operations disassemble these machines for recycling; we remove parts that can be processed for reuse according to stringent standards for quality and performance. The remaining components are recycled or disposed. Of the 47,400 metric tons collected in 2009, Xerox was able to beneficially manage more than 95%, thus diverting it from landfills.

We also carefully manage suppliers that provide recycling and waste disposal services. An audit process ensures that vendor practices are safe, environmentally sound and compliant with regulations. Where appropriate, we require these companies to document the final disposition of materials sent to their facilities, including electronic scrap. Xerox does not allow its vendors to send electronic scrap overseas for processing.

Designing for Reuse
Xerox maximizes the end-of-life potential of products and components by considering reuse in the design process. Machines are designed for easy disassembly and contain fewer parts. Parts are durable – designed for multiple product life cycles. Coded with instructions on how to dispose, the parts are also easy to reuse or recycle. As a result, equipment returned to Xerox at end of life can be rebuilt to as-new performance specifications, reusing up to 70–90% of machine components (by weight), while meeting performance specifications for equipment with parts that are all new.

Xerox also designs product families around modular product architectures and a common set of core components. These advances offer us many options for breathing new life into old equipment. 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.

A Xerox product whose designs are based on previous models may have 60% of its parts by weight in common with previous equipment. The practice of reusing parts reduces the amount of raw material needed to manufacture new parts, which generates several hundred million dollars in cost savings each year, in addition to life cycle energy savings.

Ensuring Product Quality
Xerox has developed unique processes and technologies to ensure that all Xerox products, regardless of their reused or recycled part content, meet the same specifications for performance, appearance, quality and reliability. Machines with reused/recycled parts are built on the same manufacturing lines as newly manufactured equipment, and they undergo the same rigorous tests for quality assurance. As a result, products from these manufacturing lines built with reused/recycled parts carry the same Xerox guarantees, warranties and service agreements as Xerox equipment made from all-new parts.

Meeting Customer Requirements
Customer acceptance of reused/recycled parts was a significant challenge for Xerox’s program throughout the 1990s. Today, with more than a decade of proof, we find that far fewer customers share the misperception that products with reused/recycled parts are inferior to those built from all-new parts. Nonetheless, we continue to educate customers about the quality and reliability of reused parts and, whenever necessary, we promote environmentally responsible purchasing policies and practices. Focusing on the quality and performance of products, regardless of recycled content, eliminates barriers to reuse.