Waste Reduction, Reuse and Recycling
Across Raytheon, employees embrace a strong waste management program focused on reduction, reuse and recycling wherever possible. As a charter member of the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, we were the first aerospace and defense company to achieve Zero Waste Certification with six facilities certified.
These facilities diverted at least 90 percent of their waste from landfills and incineration, and sponsored activities in the areas of source reduction, reuse, composting, purchasing of environmentally preferred materials, and participation by employees. We've set a sustainability goal to certify 20 sites by the end of 2020.
Another 2020 sustainability goal is to further increase our waste diversion rate to 82 percent. We've increased the percent of solid waste we divert from landfills and incinerators from 72 percent in 2012 to 77 percent in 2016. In 2016, we recycled or reused over 11,500 tons of solid waste. This included 2,500 tons of metals, 1,230 tons of composted material, 1,620 tons of mixed fiber and 1,700 tons of commingled waste.
In 2016, our large site in El Segundo, California, implemented an innovative recycling and reuse program. Rightcycle, a program managed by Kimberly-Clark Professional, collects previously hard-to-recycle items such as nitrile gloves and single-use apparel. Gloves are then processed into plastic pellets or nitrile powder and subsequently molded into new durable goods such as patio furniture, flower pots and plastic shelving. The program not only diverts gloves for recycling into new eco-responsible products, it also significantly reduces packaging waste by packing more gloves per case. Other benefits include streamlining the glove purchasing process and reducing purchasing costs by approximately 10 percent by consolidating suppliers.
RECYCLING CHAMPION ACHIEVES ZERO WASTE
"I'm all about looking for ways to reuse waste, recycle, and repurpose. We live on a small organic farm and live off the land."
When Brian Balukonis arrived at Raytheon in 1985, "sustainability" was not part of his vocabulary, and the environmental community was not focused on solid waste reduction and recycling. But, as an avid outdoorsman who loves rock climbing and fly-fishing, he saw an opportunity to make a difference through environmental stewardship. Thanks to his tireless efforts, Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, became the first certified Zero Waste site in New England and the first Zero Waste site for the aerospace and defense industry in the country. In 2016, Raytheon had six Zero Waste sites in New England diverting more than 90 percent of their waste from incineration and landfill.
"Zero waste aligns well with who I am personally and with my values," Balukonis says. "I'm all about looking for ways to reuse waste, recycle, and repurpose. We live on a small organic farm and live off the land. We grow our own vegetables and fruits, have a huge canning facility in our basement and do lots of composting. When we expanded our garden to put in an orchard, I did it all by hand to reduce the carbon footprint."
Balukonis started Raytheon's first established solid waste recycling program back in 1990 with white paper recycling. In 2006, the Andover plant held an annual mission assurance day with a barbecue lunch for 4,000 people. Balukonis turned the barbecue into the company's first zero-waste event, replacing all disposable supplies with compostable ones and setting up a one-day compost program so there would be no trash at end of the day.
In 2003, Balukonis worked on the company's first resource management agreement for solid waste, a program that's added significant bottom-line value.
He also contributed to an electronic-waste agreement that's returning over a hundred thousand dollars annually to Raytheon. The company's partner cleans, wipes and refurbishes electronics, provides credits for this equipment, and then shreds and recycles the leftovers.
Balukonis is proud that Raytheon has embraced a program that's so good for the company — and for the planet. Today, Raytheon recycles more than 11,000 tons of waste each year.
"Our management team recognized its importance and has committed the resources," Balukonis said. "We're emulating sustainable natural cycles so discarded materials can be resources for others to use."