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Corporate Responsibility in Action

Minimizing our waste streams - Symantec's first global waste audit

Created: 19 Apr 2013 • 7 comments
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This month, Symantec is celebrating Earth Day by exploring our commitment to environmental responsibility. Previous posts have explored Symantec's commitment to LEED certification, and talked about our participation in Earth Hour. Today we hear from Kelly Shea, Symantec's sustainability program manager, on the results from Symantec's first global waste audit.

Symantec recently completed its very first set of “friendly” waste audits at local sites across the world to better understand our waste impacts. The audits are conducted according to the LEED-EBOM MRc6: Solid Waste Management standard and identify opportunities to divert waste streams from landfill and further source reduction opportunities.

By working with our office sites to analyze the source of waste impacts, we can help develop site-level strategies and initiatives that will help us meet our goal of conserving vital resources and minimizing waste at each of our locations. We conducted pilots of these waste audits in our Fiscal Year 2012, at our Mountain View and Culver City, CA locations. These pilots resulted in a 28 percent increase in recycling in Culver City and a 9 percent increase in recycling in Mountain View.

During the audit, sites are reviewed for their management of the following waste streams:

  • Trash / Landfill
  • Compost / Food Waste
  • Mixed Recycling
  • Paper, including shredded paper
  • Cardboard
  • Cans / Bottles
  • Batteries
  • Toner / inkjets
  • Light Bulbs
  • E-waste / E-scrap
  • Cooking Oil / Grease

These audits are a two-way, constructive dialogue with our sites and we see it as our responsibility, as members of the global sustainability team, to help sites understand their waste streams and the opportunities to minimize them. Therefore, following each audit, I review the results with each team, provide recommendations and help teams develop an action plan for improvements. Additionally, we will follow up with each team on a quarterly basis to verify which recommendations have been implemented and to address any roadblocks teams are facing.  

The information gathered from waste audits is reported externally on an annual basis as part of ongoing stakeholder dialogue and to emphasize Symantec’s environmental commitment, leadership and ability to continue improving our environmental performance. 

The results from our 2013 audit are below. Congratulations to our Banner, Pune India site for a diversion rate of 100 percent! And thank you again to all of the sites that participated for your efforts. The waste auditors said they were impressed with how well-prepared all of the teams were for the audits and how easy they were to work with.

We look forward to working with these sites and others, to address waste streams and continue our audit success rate.

2013 Global Waste Audit Results

  • Banner, Pune, India – 100% recycling
  • Chengdu, China – 80% (an additional 1% of landfill waste could have been recycled)
  • Dublin, Ireland – 79% (an additional 10% of landfill waste could have been recycled)  
  • Culver City, CA – 66% (an additional 24% of landfill waste could have been recycled)  
  • Mountain View, CA – 44% (an additional 23% of landfill waste could have been recycled)
  • Roseville, MN – 31% (an additional 9% of landfill waste could have been recycled)
  • Springfield, OR – 22% (an additional 43% of landfill waste could have been recycled)
  • GreenPark, Reading, UK – 19% (an additional 73% of landfill waste could have been recycled)

Kelly Shea is Symantec's sustainability program manager.

Comments 7 CommentsJump to latest comment

Soo H's picture

Great to hear about the waste audits and the results. There's nothing like getting into the nitty gritty of what's in our waste to better realize how much we generate, and as a result, how much could be avoided.

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LTamayo's picture

I love that you are doing this kind of analysis within Symantec.  I will look forward to hearing the positive impacts coming out of increasing the recycling and reusing (and potentially upcycling) of materials.  Keep up the excellent work!

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Josh A's picture

Great job Kelly! Has Symantec been able to quantify the cost savings from recycling efforts?

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JCAlaqua's picture

I'm really like seeing companies pay close attention to sustainability and manage their waste streams well.  They tend to be more efficient, resilient, businesses and that makes them a smarter investment.  SYMC is looking better and better every day.  Keep up the great work!

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Greg6033's picture

The results from Culver City are outstanding. We could all benefit from these results. Thanks for showing the different waste streams that Symantec has. Can't wait for the next blog!

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dfuller's picture

Great Work. It's so important for companies to get this kind of credit and recognition for their work to increase recycling and waste management. Looking forward to hearing more in the future!

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Jason Shaffer's picture

This is great information and makes you think about additional ways to prevent needless waste.  It is so easy to get into a routine, particularly at work, of just disposing waste without thinking about ways to re-use or recycle items.  Also, I like the idea of breaking out the waste audit results by region.  It is fascinating how much more efficient the results were from the non-US facilities.    

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