Microsoft Earns Zero Waste Facility Certification

Connector Winter 2017

Microsoft’s zero waste efforts have earned it the US Zero Waste Business Council’s highest certification level at its Redmond, Washington campus, making Microsoft the first technology company to achieve zero waste facility certification.

The gold-level certification recognizes the IT giant’s efforts to divert at least 90% of its waste from landfills.

In a blog post about the certification, Microsoft’s Susan Wagner, senior director of Puget Sound, writes that the 500-acre campus diverted its food, office and construction waste through employee-driven reuse, recycling and composting programs, along with community partnerships.

All of the food arrives in compostable or recyclable packaging. The campus grows some produce and makes meals to order to reduce food waste. Local recyclers convert thousands of gallons of frying oil each week into biodiesel. Tableware is all plant-based. Additionally, several of the company’s beverage vendors remove plastic packaging and 6-pack rings before delivery, and produce vendors deliver vegetables and fruits in reusable containers.

In addition to diverting its dining waste, employees separate materials like glass and plastic bottles, paper and cans for recycling, while Microsoft uses specific programs to recycle specialty waste streams such as electronics, batteries and wooden pallets.

Reuse programs that extend the life of office supplies, furnishings and computer equipment also play an important part in the company’s waste management strategy. Items such as surplus binders, power cords, laptops and whiteboards are made available to others around campus via an onsite/online “store.” In addition, furniture is repaired, reused whenever possible and often donated to nonprofits through a global furniture reuse program.

Source: Environmental Management News
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