UPS tests the waters with zero waste drive

Global logistics leader UPS has embarked on a zero waste to landfill programme using two of its sites as "test beds" to trial various minimisation and recovery methods.

If successful, these procedures will be rolled out across the company’s global operations which span 1,860 sites in total.

UPS, which is the official logistics partner for the London 2012 Olympic Games, says it has identified two facilities in the US that are “good candidates” for diverting at least 90% of waste from landfill or incineration.

As UPS is not involved in manufacturing, its waste streams are limited primarily to supplier packaging and pallets, office paper, e-waste, and batteries.

It also handles hazardous and non-hazardous wastes materials from its aircraft, vehicle, and facility operations such as spent antifreeze, used oil and spill residues.

In 2010 the company allowed its US facilities greater flexibility to invest in recycling, which led to a 2.1% increase in the amount of solid waste recycled in 2011 compared to the previous year. In turn this saved UPS more than $1.6m in waste disposal costs.

Last year the company rolled out its e-waste recycling programme internationally and increased the number of reusable sorting bags in its global operations by 1.3 million. To date, it has used more than 9.3 million reusable bags in the US, Europe and Asia to bundle and sort small packages.

According to the company, each reusable bag eliminates the need for more than 600 plastic bags – since it introduced these bags in 1995, over 67,664 tonnes of plastic have been diverted from landfill.

Maxine Perella

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie