The team achieved their goal of zero landfill in the last month of their three-year schedule. "The last 2 million pounds from around the world were the most difficult," Walter says. "But today, a tremendous amount of material that used to end up as landfill gets reused or recycled."
The list of useful byproducts Walter’s team culled from Building Innovations’ processes is impressive. For example, Corian® scraps turned out to have great utility. "We trim each sheet we make, so there’s natural waste that was coming from this process," Walter says. "There is also transition material that is created as we change from one color of material to the next. Now, instead of putting them into a landfill, we can grind up many of our scrap sheets to reuse in our first-grade product. We also can crush the remaining scraps for use as drainage rock."
And the list continues. Sanding waste from the Corian® and Zodiaq® manufacturing processes is used as a filler replacement in concrete. Tyvek® wrap and flashing trim is recycled into first-grade material. Shipping pallets are repaired, reused, or ground into animal bedding. Carrier belt film is melted and used to make adhesives. Even cafeteria waste from Building Innovations facilities is recycled into worm bedding or converted into energy.
But this project yielded financial as well as environmental benefits. Amazingly, the team achieved its mission with no capital expenditures. And in just one year, Building Innovations earned $2.2 million from the sale of byproducts globally, in addition to realizing $400,000 in cost savings.
DuPont Building Innovations received the first-ever Supplier Sustainability Award from the U.S. Restaurant Development group at McDonald’s® for its zero-landfill achievement. And the Building Innovations marketing team is finding ways to boost sales by leveraging the the business’s commitment to sustainability among environmentally-conscious consumers.
Now that the project team has accomplished its zero-landfill goal, it continues to use Minitab for data analysis. "Minitab is important in our auditing process," Walter says. "Every week we’re checking our numbers, making sure the right materials are going into the right containers, and we use Minitab control charts, histograms, and other tools to make sense of the data we collect. Minitab is very powerful and easy to use, and when you have questions about the ins and outs of a particular analysis or method, the clarity Minitab provides us with is really very helpful."
But, Walter points out, one indicator of the team’s success can be easily detected even without Minitab Statistical Software: "We no longer see any trucks coming into our plants to pick up landfill waste," he says.