Waste Prevention and Management
Our waste-free goal 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 goal as described in the “Environmental Performance in Xerox Facilities” section of this report.
- Xerox is investing in technologies that reduce the creation of waste. 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. For laser-based products, materials innovation has extended the life of critical replaceable components by up to 50%.
Webster toner plant achieves zero waste-to-landfill.
The Webster Emulsion Aggregation (EA) toner plant has achieved zero waste-to-landfill status. This accomplishment was realized through a combination of waste reduction and beneficial management efforts.
The plant implemented process redesign and operational practices to significantly reduce the quantity of waste generated during manufacturing of toner. In addition, their existing waste handling system was re-designed to enable ALL waste streams that had previously been sent for landfill disposal to be co-collected with the existing energy-from-waste recovery. Today, ALL manufacturing and office waste is reused, recycled or sent for energy-from-waste recovery.
Xerox Green World Alliance
The Xerox Green World Alliance (GWA) reuse/recycle program for imaging supplies is central to our commitment to waste-free products. This partnership with Xerox customers resulted in more than 3.4 million cartridges, toner containers and other used supply items being returned in 2010. Although Xerox’s consumables returns programs have been in existence for two decades, Xerox continues to evaluate customer needs and implement improvements to the program. For example, in early 2010, two new bulk returns processes were introduced in the U.S. The pallet returns process enables customers to return 30 or more cartridges in a single shipment. Eco-Box returns allow the customer to order free bundles of Eco Boxes that hold from five to 12 cartridges per return, depending on the size of the item. These enhancements simplify the customers’ role while enabling the return of a wider variety of items. Xerox continues to monitor global customer feedback and industry best practices to stay on the path of continuous improvement.
Xerox takes another step toward waste-free.
In late 2010, Xerox partnered with Close the Loop, one of the worlds largest recyclers of imaging supplies that specializes in cartridge returns. Close the Loop collects U.S. customers returns and manages the recycling on behalf of Xerox using a patented material separation process that recovers used materials for reuse in new printer cartridges and other products. These processes enable virtually all material returned through the program to be beneficially managed. This partnership both simplifies the returns process for customers and also allows more of the return stream to be recycled into useful products.
Xerox Green World Alliance: Total Waste Diverted from Landfills from Cartridges, Bottles and Waste Toner through Reuse/Recycle
Well-Established Collecting and Reprocessing Methods
Xerox customers now have three options for returning spent consumables to Xerox for reuse and recycling at no charge individual unit returns for select items, the Eco Box program and pallet returns. Returned products are sorted, and items suitable for remanufacturing are cleaned, inspected and then remanufactured. Those which cannot be remanufactured are recycled. Remanufactured cartridges, containing an average of 90% reused/recycled parts, are built and tested to the same performance specifications as new products.
Recycled waste toner and toner reclaimed from manufacturing that qualifies for reuse may account for 25% of the weight of new toner, without compromising toner functionality. Reusing waste/reclaimed toner saves several million dollars in raw material costs each year.
Xerox currently has more than 30 countries participating in the Xerox Green World Alliance. Each has its own GWA country page which either describes the processes available to the customer or the appropriate points of contact for more information. Further information on Xerox’s consumables returns program is available at the Green World Alliance website: www.xerox.com/gwa.
Cartridge remanufacturing reduces cost and carbon impact.
A cross-functional Xerox team identified an opportunity to remanufacture field-returned cartridges from Xerox-branded multifunction printers. By developing, qualifying, and implementing the remanufacturing processes, significant cost and environmental benefits have been realized: cost productivity in excess of $1M, nearly 300 metric tons of waste avoidance, and carbon footprint reduction of almost two million kg of CO2e compared to virgin cartridges.
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.
Xerox takes very seriously the environmental philosophy of reduce/reuse/recycle throughout the product life cycle of our equipment and parts. As early as the design phase, machines are designed with the minimum number of required parts and with high durability and reuse capability, in order to encourage multiple product life cycles. During the active phase of a product, all returned equipment is evaluated for reuse opportunities throughout the Supply Chain. Finally, during the end-of-life/end-of-service phase of the product life cycle, since the parts are coded with disposal instructions, they are easy to recycle in the most effective manner.
Xerox enables reuse according to the following hierarchy:
- Reuse of complete end item as used or new, depending on the condition of the machine. This requires the least reprocessing, transportation and energy usage. This reuse method comprised an average of 6% of our total returns in the U.S. in 2010.
- Remanufacturing or conversion into a newer-generation product or part. Product families are designed with a high level of commonality to enable maximum reuse in this manner. This allows us to remanufacture to “as new” performance specifications while reusing 7090% of the machine components by weight without degradation of quality or performance. Nearly 40% of machines returned in the U.S. are sent for remanufacturing of some sort.
- Reuse of major modules, subcomponents, and parts for spares or manufacturing. Machines which have otherwise outlived their useful life are stripped of useful parts and components prior to the scrap/reclaim process. Used spare parts returned from the field are also considered for this reuse stream. Xerox is continually looking to increase the number of components that are reused in upstream and downstream processes after their original machine has been designated for disposal. In 2010, almost 200,000 parts were stripped off of used machines and sent back out to the field for reuse either in manufacturing or as repair parts.
- Material recycling. Any remaining portion of a machine after the above processes have been followed is stripped of any recyclable material (e.g., plastics, copper wire) and material requiring special disposal services, such as PWBs, batteries and lamps. The remainder of the machine is then crushed and sent to a scrap metal reclaim facility.
Our approach to managing products at end-of-life translates into significant environmental and financial benefits. Globally, our combined returns programs (equipment remanufacture in conjunction with parts and consumables reuse and recycling) prevented nearly 46,000 metric tons of waste from entering landfills in 2010 alone.
Xerox’s manufacturing approach focuses
on sustainable strategies to extend the lifespan
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, and carry the same guarantees, warranties and service agreements as Xerox equipment made from all-new parts. With more than a decade of proof, the misperception that products with reused/recycled parts are inferior to those built from all-new parts has diminished. A recently concerning trend, however, has been the inclusion of requirements for all-new parts in some public sector bids and tenders, in many cases running counter to those governments own green procurement principles. We continue to educate customers about the quality and reliability of equipment containing reprocessed content. Focusing on the quality and performance of products, regardless of recycled content, eliminates barriers to reuse.
The annual trend in reduction in waste diverted from landfills 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 Remanufacture and Parts Reuse
While Xerox has long been committed to responsible end-of-life management of equipment, the proliferation of e-waste regulations has created a need for multiple programs in different countries and even states. The subtle differences in requirements among these regulations pose challenges from a process consistency and efficiency standpoint. For example, with the implementation of the European Union’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, Xerox continues 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.
We carefully manage suppliers that provide recycling and waste disposal services. A waste vendor approval process assesses the safety and environmental practices as well as compliance history of each vendor. 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 to developing nations for processing.