Even during a global pandemic, Bendix says it achieved a series of wins toward its 2020 sustainability goals, reducing its energy consumption more than 14 million kilowatt-hours over the past six years and diverting 99.9% of its waste from landfill.
Another major success story for Bendix in 2020 was sending fewer than 16 tons of material company-wide to landfill, realizing a 97% decrease from the 508 tons of material that were landfilled in 2019. The remaining 10,965 tons of excess or spent materials were either diverted, recycled, or reused.
Yet another environmental accolade in 2020 was that nine Bendix manufacturing locations, plus the Elyria corporate headquarters, achieved the company’s official Zero Waste to Landfill Certification.
The sustainability successes achieved during 2020 capitalized on increasing waste diversion and energy efficiency across the Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC (Bendix) North American facilities. The effort also included conducting a baseline study of the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc., which was acquired mid-year 2020. Bendix continues its focus on both areas in connection with its deep alignment and ongoing support of the United Nations’ (UN) ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 overarching environmental objectives adopted by UN member states promote prosperity while protecting the environment. Two of the objectives – Responsible Consumption and Production (encompassed within SDG 12) and Climate Action (the focus of SDG 13) – are central to Bendix’s sustainability efforts.
“Even during a year when many activities had to be modified, curtailed, or held remotely, our team members stayed true to our sustainability missions and to our overall energy strategy,” said Maria Gutierrez, director of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “Following up on a stellar year in 2019, Bendix employees continued to embrace our sustainability goals in 2020, whether that meant reducing nonindustrial waste streams, increasing energy efficiency, or pursuing new approaches to reducing our carbon footprint. Ultimately, seeing these results, we’re once again proud and honored to celebrate these remarkable achievements.”
Achieving Zero Waste to Landfill
The company reached a major sustainability milestone in 2020 by achieving its zero-waste-to-landfill objective at nine Bendix manufacturing sites within the network of manufacturing campuses, as well as the Elyria corporate headquarters.
As of late October 2020, the corporate headquarters and all but two Bendix manufacturing sites and the recently acquired Sheppard sites had achieved the company’s official Zero Waste to Landfill Certification. The program centers around a detailed self-certification process, whereby each location must meet eight major requirements related to waste management, waste diversion, and continuous improvement to verify that the site is diverting 100% of its waste from being landfilled.
“Achieving the certification means the sites are consistently diverting 100% of both industrial and nonindustrial wastes, through recovery, recycling, composting, or another diversion method or technology, including waste-to-energy,” said Bill Schubert, Bendix corporate manager, environmental and sustainability. “Our approach is built on a hierarchy that calls for each location to first eliminate, then reduce, reuse, recycle, and reclaim – and as a final option when these strategies are not available, to utilize waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies or incineration.”
Each location used a combination of multiple technologies, processes, and cultural changes that are in place across Bendix to drive reduction or elimination of wastes and achieve the certification. These included implementing the company’s Sustainable Food Service Policy by eliminating plastic water bottles and Styrofoam products; launching new processes, such as centralized waste collection and spent material audits (aka dumpster dives); and utilizing new or innovative technologies, such as WTE technologies, a composting program, and the use of food waste digesters.