Nearly Half of Eaton’s Manufacturing Sites Reach Zero Waste-to-Landfill

by | Aug 19, 2019

Nearly Half of Eaton’s Manufacturing Sites Reach Zero Waste-to-Landfill

(Photo: An Eaton employee at a manufacturing facility. Credit: Eaton)

Power management company Eaton reached zero waste-to-landfill status for nearly half of their manufacturing sites in 2018, their annual sustainability report published today shows.

In 2018, Eaton set the target for 100% of their manufacturing sites to reach zero waste-to-landfill (ZWTL) certification by 2030. Last year 148 sites hit that mark, representing about half of the total. Their internal program uses third-party verification.

“Our approach prioritizes beneficial diversion, and the process starts with source reduction — eliminating waste streams before they reach our facilities,” the company says. “We then engage partners to help us divert our remaining waste from landfill.”

Eaton’s strategy involves reuse, recycling, composting, and waste incineration for energy generation. For example, their hose manufacturing plant in Cerkezkoy, Turkey, converts cafeteria waste to energy using bio-digestion and methane recovery. Likewise, rubber hose edge waste from the site also goes through an energy recovery incineration process.

The emergence of 3D printing also promises to help the company’s manufacturing process become more efficient. “Rather than traditional methods of manufacturing, largely based on subtractive manufacturing or forming, additive manufacturing has the potential to decrease waste and scrap from the production process by putting material only where it’s needed,” Eaton’s report said.

Besides the 100% ZWTL goal, Eaton committed to reducing waste volumes 3% annually indexed to sales.

“Indexed to sales, our waste to landfill, which includes waste incinerated without heat recovery, decreased by 8.8% in 2018 compared to 2017,” the sustainability report said. “On an absolute basis, we decreased our waste generation by 3.4%, a total decrease of 904 metric tons. Since 2015, we have reduced the waste sent to landfill by our operations by 24%.”

The company has around 100,000 employees, sells products in more than 175 countries, and had $21.6 billion in sales last year. Their full sustainability report is available here.

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