Caterpillar Achieves 'Zero Waste' Goal at 2 UK Facilities

Caterpillar Achieves 'Zero Waste' Goal at 2 UK Facilities

Two Caterpillar Inc. sites in England now claim bragging rights to 100 percent recycling, achieving a company goal of sending zero waste to landfill.

The firm based in Peoria, Illinois, said the hose assembly plant for the Caterpillar Remanufacturing & Components Division for the United Kingdom in Leicester hit the waste management target in 2010 and the Caterpillar Logistics Services, known as Cat Logistics, in Desford had maintained a 100 percent recycling rate for a year as of October.

The Desford site, which provides logistics services to a range of clients and distributes material around the world, had a longstanding recycling program in place and kicked it into high gear in 2008 to work toward the waste management goal.

"We're extremely proud of the results of this project," said Cat Logistics' Site Services Manager Paul Morris in a statement released just before the new year. "It's a great thing for the environment but it's also great for our business. We've taken what used to be a cost and turned it into an asset."

The facility saved $183,984 in a year as a result of its efforts, according to the company. Measures included:

  • Expanding six waste streams to the more than 30 that exist today.
  • Bundling or baling waste from those streams, which increases weight per volume. The baling has reduced transportation used to move waste off site by 50 percent overall. The process resulted in an 11-fold improvement in transportation of cardboard. Previously vehicles held two-ton loads when hauling away the material for recycling, but now the vehicles can cart away 22 tons of baled cardboard per load.
  • Providing workers with small desktop containers for office rubbish and setting up segregated collection points for various materials to encourage recycling and motivate employees to generate less waste. Before the changes, office garbage went in one large bin that was sent to landfill.

The facility in Leicester reached the waste management goal by increasing its recycling rate by as much as 30 percent. Steps taken included developing a total waste management system that enabled the facility to maximize revenues from the process, which included starting a program to recycle rubber hydraulic hoses. The site has saved $15,562 since September 2009.

Caterpillar Inc., the largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, talked about its work to manage waste in a webcast on in July. "Getting to Zero: How Companies Profit From Eliminating Waste" is available in archives until July 2011.

Image courtesy of Caterpillar Inc.