Beginning in late 2016, Aved Electronics, Inc. expanded its recycling and responsible disposal program to include manufacturing waste in addition to the traditional paper, cans, and bottles. The manufacturing waste stream includes electronic components, rigid and film plastics, cable and wire, cardboard, circuit boards, and wood pallets. Now, almost every item from the manufacturing process has a defined path to recycling or responsible destruction.
In Q1 2017, for example, nearly one ton of waste, which had typically been thrown away for regular trash collection, was removed by certified recyclers and service providers. Not only did Aved’s new program measurably contribute to reducing the environmental footprint, but Aved also received financial reimbursement from the reclamation of precious metals, and thus realized a favorable return overall.
There were two major challenges while implementing the new program: one internal and one external. The first challenge was to identify the categories of waste and devise a system to collect the various types of materials in a way not to disrupt the manufacturing flow. Training the employees to separate and find the right container/bin rather than just throw away in a wastebasket took some patience and a little ingenuity. Regular wastebaskets were removed temporarily from the work areas requiring a conscious decision by everyone to dispose correctly on the Floor. The size and location of the bins and containers were eventually optimized and the employees learned quickly enough what they needed to do on a day to day basis. The second challenge was to find and hire the right service providers. Since Aved is a small manufacturing company, it does not generate the volumes of waste that most recyclers want to collect. After many months of searching, quoting, interviewing, Aved was able to identify a few service providers that matched the Aved profile and requirements.
Aved has always been proud of its service to its customers and its excellent standing in the community as a company. Now, by engaging each employee in disposing of manufacturing waste in appropriate containers on a daily basis, it can be said that the entire company and not just the corporate entity, is tangibly improving the environment and reducing volume at local landfills. There is a sense of pride and community connectivity which occurs when the contribution is collectively made. Aved Electronics has harnessed this sense of connection to the environmental health of our neighborhoods with its expanded recycling and responsible disposal program.