Xerox Implements Environmental Standard To Tackle Landfill Issue


6 August 2003

The UK's growing landfill issue received a boost today through a new partnership formed to tackle the high levels of materials dumped from old equipment. Xerox is set to be able to meet the stringent, new European Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, by achieving the international environmental standard, ISO 14001, awarded by BSI Management Systems.

The ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard is ensuring that Xerox will be able to comply with the WEEE Directive. Introduced into the UK February 2003, the WEEE Directive dictates that manufacturers must take back end of life equipment and ensure that it is recycled at no cost to the end user.

Importantly, ISO 14001 also requires Xerox to set further objectives and targets for continual environmental improvements, so that it will be well placed to meet potential, new environmental legislation.

Every year approximately 39,000 units are returned to Xerox, but the new system means that 99 per cent of the waste is reintroduced into the manufacturing process. This creates substantial commercial benefits too, as the value of the materials alone is worth over £150,000.

Perry Buenen, Vice President and Director of XE Manufacturing & Supply Chainof Xerox says: "We have worked with BSI Management Systems to ensure that the ISO 14001 process has been developed to sustainably benefit the whole environment. In fully satisfying the new ISO process it maintains Xerox's commitment to meet European environmental targets, such as the WEEE Directive. With the enforcement date for the UK being 13 August 2004, we are continuously improving our processes, with our partners, to re-cycle all the electronics, metals, and plastics from our equipment well ahead of the game."

Neil Hannah, managing director of BSI Management Systems EMEA, added:

"Xerox has made substantial improvements to its environmental policies through recognising the importance of sustainability not only in the electronics sector but thinking of the wider environmental impacts too.  BSI congratulates Xerox on its ISO 14001 award which will help the company to deliver business and environmental benefits for years to come."

At Xerox Ltd.'s Mitcheldean site, UK returned machines fall into three categories so that Xerox can maximise the return on this recycling policy. The 39,000 units returned have a total weight of around 5,900 tonnes. Machines in full working order to be re-deployed account for roughly 1465 tonnes, those that were asset stripped account for 1460 tonnes and machines to be scrapped and recycled account for 2970 tonnes.

The 2970 tonnes of equipment for scrap is segregated into electronics, metals and plastics, which are recycled separately and a proportion of which are re-introduced to the manufacturing process.

An additional benefit to the new system is the plastics recycling closed loop process, which solves previous problems encountered with plastics recycling. Now both the quality and grading for use as "new material" is achieved plus it negates the hefty transportation costs.

This means approximately 553 tonnes of plastic will be segregated and recycled each year. An example of how this process works is the 120 tonnes of ABS type-plastic being segregated, sorted and granulated then sent for reprocessing. This is then reintroduced into the Xerox new build process as air intakes for the Xerox DocumentCentre 500 series of copier printers.

Currently the European community accounts for 7,300,000 tonnes of electronic waste, fuelling the need for a great deal of work to be committed to in this area.

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About the WEEE Directive:

Directive 2002/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 on waste electrical and electronic equipment

Became EU law on 13/2/03 - the UK has until 13/8/04 to incorporate it into UK law. Compliance in the UK is NOT required until the regulations have officially been released under UK law. The Directive has 2 parts; firstly manufacturers of EEE must take back the equipment at the end of its life and ensure that it is recycled at no cost to the end user. Secondly the directive lists several hazardous substances that can no longer be used in the manufacture of EEE and this raises some major issues for the manufacturing process. The second part of the regulations is covered by an additional piece of legislation, the removal of hazardous substances (RoHS) Directive.

What is WEEE? -

Anything that is powered by mains electricity or batteries, including: 
IT equipment; white goods; audio and TV equipment; mechanical toys; lighting and alarm systems; some medical equipment etc. (This is a very wide-ranging regulation.)

Consequences of the regulations -

The following materials are banned in the manufacture of electronic and electrical equipment from 1/7/06: Lead (except in lead/acid batteries; Mercury; Cadmium; Hexavalent Chrome (Cr IV) and brominated flame-retardants. 
This is significant as currently the vast majority of equipment is assembled using lead-based solder and the current alternatives are not suitable for some applications.

ISO 14001

ISO 14001 is the internationally recognised standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS). First published as a standard by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in 1996, it establishes a co-ordinated framework of controls to manage environmental protection in your organisation.

The implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS) is key to any organisation managing its impact on the environment and is a critical part of a risk management strategy. Companies' environmental performance can have a significant impact on their success and an effective EMS can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and secure a competitive advantage.