Reducing Waste to Landfill

In 2015, we achieved a landfill diversion rate of 70%. Since 2010, we have reduced the amount of general waste we send to landfill by 24%.

We saw a 3% increase in diverted waste, and a 6% reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill in 2015 compared with 2014, bringing our overall diversion rate to 70%.

Our SSF site, which is responsible for 70% of our total waste, reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill per employee by 11% compared with 2014 (equivalent to an 8% absolute reduction). Since 2010, the site has decreased landfilled waste by 47% per person, putting it well on track to meet its 10 year 80% landfill per person reduction goal.

While most of our landfill reduction has come from increased recycling and composting efforts, we also strive to minimize the amount of materials brought into our sites and to maximize reuse. A key example is our dining processes. In 2016, a team was formed in SSF to work on right-sizing our food purchases in the cafeteria and catering operations, and streamlining our process for donating surplus food to people in need.

In 2015, we expanded and redesigned our Zero Waste Zone (ZWZ) program, which engages our employees in waste reduction and recycling efforts related to employee relocations due to new buildings opening on campus. A designated team sets up centralized office supply and recycling areas where employees sort their unwanted items, or shop for new items to be used onsite. Extra materials are donated to schools and local nonprofits or recycled. During 2015, the ZWZ program donated over 3,000 monitors to local schools and non-profits and diverted over 200 tons of materials from landfill.

The SSF site has also implemented a range of successful waste reduction initiatives, including our Green BioPharma program, focused on lab-based research and development activities (watch the Better Chemistry video here). These include a chemical recycling program, ‘sidewalk sales’ to maximize internal reuse of laboratory materials, expansion of lab plastics recycling and diversion of bioprocess materials from landfill to a waste-to-energy facility.

Our Louisville, Kentucky distribution facility is the first Genentech site to achieve zero waste to landfill. The site has implemented a comprehensive recycling process, including diverting plastics and styrofoam which previously took up 80% of the landfill dumpster volume. The financial value of the recyclable materials is re-invested to provide employment to people with disabilities. Having now maximized recycling of the various site waste streams, the Louisville site sends any non-recyclable waste (3% of the site’s total) to a waste-to-energy plant, ensuring that value is recovered from 100% of the site’s waste and that none is sent to landfill.