Employee ‘Green’ Innovations Save Xerox $10.2M

by | Nov 12, 2010

Employee-driven “green”  innovations have saved Xerox $10.2 million and eliminated 2.6 million pounds of waste this year. One of the latest designs cut the package size of the company’s ColorQube solid ink. The smaller package also is made primarily from recycled materials.

The company’s Earth Awards program, launched 17 years ago, showcases how employees improve Xerox’s business and the environment by eliminating waste.

This year more than 30 nominations came from Xerox facilities around the world including Ireland, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States. Thirteen winners were selected.

Here are the U.S. winners.

A research team in Wilsonville, Oregon, developed the smallest package possible for the ColorQube solid ink. The packaging is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled material for the tray and lid (provided by a local vendor), and a 43 percent recycled shipping box used for protection.

Another team in Wilsonville saved a total of 855,000 kWh of energy in the facility and operations equipment by limiting the energy used by office equipment and powering off lights. Cost savings for the projects were more than $140,000.

A team in the Webster, New York, EA Toner plant developed a more efficient process to handle wastewater. The changes resulted in a 60 percent reduction in wastewater sent offsite for disposal, a 50 percent reduction in the building’s waste generation, a 33 percent reduction in water required for mixing raw toner materials, and a 73 percent reduction in the amount of preparation time. Total cost savings was about $80,000 per year.

Another team from Webster achieved zero waste to landfill by redesigning the EA Toner plant sludge waste handling system to be used to convert waste to energy. The redesign eliminated 50,000 pounds of waste that previously went to landfills, and saved $2,000 in operating cost. The system also helped improve safety conditions and boosted overall productivity.

Using Lean Six Sigma tools, the team in Grovepoint, Ohio, significantly reduced the amount of packaging material sent to the landfill each day. They installed equipment to compact Styrofoam and cardboard, eliminating 1.5 trailers of waste per day; developed a return process for wooden pallets, saving more than $738,000 per year; and created a reuse process for the overpack boxes, which saved $3,000 per month.

Xerox also launched this week (Nov. 9) a new return and recycling program, aimed at recovering more toner and supplies for reuse. It also gives customers more choices in returning used imaging supplies such as toner bottles and ink cartridges, while simplifying the way they return the used products.

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