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Waste

 

Waste

 

Waste is any material or substance that is discarded from a factory site, which can pollute and contaminate the environment and surrounding communities. 

Hazardous waste is waste that could cause harm to public health and/or the environment because of its chemical, physical, or biological characteristics (e.g., it is flammable, explosive, toxic, radioactive, or infectious). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines hazardous waste as “waste that is dangerous or potentially harmful to our health or the environment. Hazardous wastes can be liquids, solids, or gases, or sludge. (Source)

Non-Hazardous wastes include all additional waste that are not covered by this definition. Non-hazardous waste, such as food waste or plastic waste can still pose contamination and fire risks if not properly managed.

The Higg Waste section requires you to:

  • Track all hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams
  • Report the volume generated and disposal method for all hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams
  • Segregate, properly store, and train workers to handle all hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams
  • Forbid open burning and dumping of waste on-site and properly control any onsite incineration
  • Set normalized baselines for waste generated (e.g., generated 20 kgs of domestic waste per production unit in 2016) and disposal methods (e.g., landfilled 80% of domestic waste in 2016)
  • Set normalized targets for waste reductions and improvements to disposal methods
  • Set an action plan with specific actions and strategies to achieve waste reduction targets
  • Demonstrate waste reductions against the baseline such as “Last year we generated 16 kgs of domestic waste per unit of production which is a 20% annual reduction since 2016.”
  • Leading practice: Divert at least 90 percent of all discarded materials from landfills, incinerators and the environment
  • Leading practice: Upcycle waste by transforming waste materials into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. 

Waste performance can be improved in two ways:

  1. By reducing the total amount of waste generated for your facility
  2. By switching to preferred methods of disposal such as recycling, reuse, or appropriately controlled incineration 

For more introductory information on Waste please visit howtohigg.org    

Waste Introduction

Waste is any material or substance that is discarded from a factory site, which can pollute and contaminate the environment and surrounding communities. 

Example of waste can include but not limited to:

  • Non-hazardous waste is discarded materials from the consumption of goods and services and the manufacture of goods. Examples of solid waste (Not exhaustive)  include production waste as cloth, leather or other materials, plastic and paper or packaging waste as paper, cardboard and domestic waste as food and yard/garden waste, glass and metal containers.
  • Hazardous waste is waste that could cause harm to public health and/or the environment because of its chemical, physical, or biological characteristics (e.g., it is flammable, explosive, toxic, radioactive, or infectious).  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines hazardous waste as “waste that is dangerous or potentially harmful to our health or the environment. Hazardous wastes can be liquids, solids, or gases, or sludge. The requirements for managing hazardous waste are stricter than for non‐hazardous waste.”  (http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/) 

However, the classification into hazardous and non-hazardous waste may differ from one country legislation to another that may define which ‘waste’ are categorized as hazardous differently. A facility should at minimum follow the legal waste requirements. If legal requirements are not available, select more stringent industry guidelines.

Waste - Level 1

1. Which non-hazardous waste streams does your site produce? Select all that apply:

·       Materials (please specify)

·       Metal

·       Plastic

·       Paper

·       Cans

·       Food

·       Glass

·       Cartons

·       Other (please specify)

·       All domestic waste combined 

Suggested Upload: Waste Manifest

 

Includes production and domestic waste.

You will receive full points if you are completely tracking the quantity of all waste streams that your facility generates.

You will receive partial points if you are completely tracking at least one of your waste sources, but are not yet tracking all of your sources.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is to build awareness of all non-hazardous waste types (both production and domestic waste) at your facility and to start tracking how much of each waste type you produce.

You must know your sources of waste before you can make strategic decisions on how to improve waste. It’s important to prioritize improvements for the waste sources that you produce the most of.

It is important to also specify how each waste stream is being disposed of in order to identify opportunities to increase your use of preferred disposal methods (e.g., reuse, recycling, properly controlled energy recovery, incineration, and biological/chemical treatment) and reduce landfilling and/or uncontrolled incineration.)

Technical Guidance:

Consolidating a waste inventory is the first step in understanding the environmental impacts of the waste your facility generates. To begin with, map out your facility’s business activities and processes in order to identify where you generate waste on-site, understand the type of waste and its hazard(s), the quantity of waste, and how it needs to be managed.

The following terminology will help you understand how to complete this question:

  • All waste stream means all the waste produced on-site including waste generated from manufacturing product, office use, waste produced by workers at the canteen, dormitory, and waste produced by contractors coming on-site to perform a service.
  • Final disposal means the final step to transform or destroy your waste. If a contractor is collecting your waste and selling it to another company, the final disposal will be the last company to handle your waste by recycling, incinerating, treating (physical or chemical treatment), or landfilling your waste. This can be controlled in the factory by checking the waste collection area and confirming that sorting is well-managed.
  • Non-hazardous waste is discarded materials from the consumption of goods and services and the manufacture of goods. Examples of solid waste (Not exhaustive) include production waste such as cloth, leather or other materials, plastic and paper or packaging waste as paper, cardboard and domestic waste as food and yard/garden waste, glass and metal containers.
  • Hazardous waste is waste that could cause harm to public health and/or the environment because of its chemical, physical, or biological characteristics (e.g., it is flammable, explosive, toxic, radioactive, or infectious).  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines hazardous waste as “waste that is dangerous or potentially harmful to our health or the environment. Hazardous wastes can be liquids, solids, or gases, or sludge. The requirements for managing hazardous waste are stricter than for non‐hazardous waste.”  (http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/)
    • However, the classification into hazardous and non-hazardous waste may differ from one country legislation to another that may define which ‘waste’ are categorized as hazardous differently. The facility should follow the legal waste requirements. If legal requirements are not available, select more stringent industry guidelines.
  • Reuse: Means checking, cleaning or repairing recovery operations, by which products or components of products that have become waste are prepared so that they can be re-used without any other preprocessing whether for the original or other purposes. For example:
  • Chemical supplier can reuse the chemical container for filling them up with the same chemical
  • Fabric leftover can be reused in another factory
  • Rechargeable batteries can be reused many times 
  • Recycle: Requires the waste to be re-processed so as to obtain a product, material or substance whether for the original or other purposes. It does not include energy recovery and the reprocessing into materials that are to be used as fuels or for backfilling operation. For example:
  • Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products, sometimes completely different in form from their original state. For instance, this could mean melting down soft drink bottles and then casting them as plastic chairs and tables.
  • Plastic used for playground surfaces or traffic cones
  • Fabric scraps being reprocessed for padding/stuffing used for furniture, mattresses, blankets, toys

 

  • Incinerated with energy recovery: materials that are collected and intentionally allocated to incineration, gasification, anaerobic digestion, or other technology that recovers the inherent useful energy of the material. Methods that prevent environmental impacts and maximize resource utilization are required.

 

  • Incineration: materials that are collected and managed through an incineration process that meets international standards.

 

  • Landfill: materials that are collected and managed through a landfilling process that meets international standards. 

How this will be verified:

  • Yes
    • Documentation required
      • Production Waste
      • Packaging waste
      • Domestic Waste
      • List of ALL non-hazardous waste produced by the facility
      • Method of tracking the quantity for ALL non-hazardous waste
      • Records for tracking both the quantity and type of disposal (including disposal destination) of ALL non-hazardous waste (e.g. invoices from waste contractors)
    • Interview discussion
      • Management can descirbe the major sources of non-hazardous waste and describe their fate (where they are disposed of)
      • Review the procedures in place for tracking non-hazardous waste
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Sources of non-hazardous waste production
      • Collection sites for waste disposal
  • Partial Yes : Partial points depends on the number of sources fully tracked.
    • Same requirements as for "yes" above for at least one non-hazardous waste source at the facility. This must be tracked in full. This means that at least one (but not all) of the sources listed in the Level 1 table have complete answers in all columns and there is evidence to support all of the answers.

 

2. Which hazardous waste streams does your site produce? Select all that apply:

Production Waste

·       Empty chemical drums and containers

·       Film and Printing Frame

·       Wastewater treatment sludge (industrial / domestic)

·       Expired / unused / used chemicals (waste oil, solvents, reactants, etc…)

·       Compressed Gas Cylinders (refrigerants, etc.)

·       Contaminated materials (please specify)

·       Other (please specify)

 

Domestic Waste

·       Batteries

·       Fluorescent light bulb

·       Ink cartridges

·       Waste oil and grease (from cooking)

·       Empty containers (cleaning, sanitizing, pesticides, etc...)

·       Electronic Waste

·       Coal combustion residuals (fly ash and bottom ash/coal slag)

·       Other (please specify)

Suggested Upload: Hazardous waste manifests

 

You will receive full points if you are completely tracking all hazardous waste sources AND are disposing of hazardous wastes through a licensed and permitted hazardous waste contractor. Please refer to the guidance documents for information on reporting on drums or barrels.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is to build awareness of all hazardous waste types produced onsite and to start tracking how much of each waste type you produce.

Hazardous waste poses a greater risk to the environment and human health than non-hazardous waste, and thus requires a stricter management process. You must know your sources of waste before you can make strategic decisions on how to improve waste. It’s important to prioritize improvements for the waste sources that you produce the most of. 

Technical Guidance:  

Note on Drums / Barrels: If you have disposed of empty drums, please enter the total weight of all drums in kilograms or metric tons. For example, if you disposed of 25 empty steel drums that weighed 20 kilograms each, please choose “Empty containers” and enter 500 kilograms (25 drums x 20 kgs = 500 kgs total). If you select the “drums” option we will assume a weight of 16 kgs per drum in your final calculation (an average weight of standard steel and plastic drums). This option should only be selected when actual weight is not known. In order to calculate the most accurate results, we suggest you enter the actual weight in kilograms and only choose generic “drums” if you are unable to weigh your barrel or drum.   

If you have disposed of full drums that contain liquid waste, please enter the volume of the drum (cubic feet, cubic yard, gallons, meters) or the total weight (kg or metric tons). 

It is advisable for your factory to regularly check that wastes are being properly handled an are treated/ disposed of at the intended facility. An example of contaminated materials can be a piece of cotton or nylon used to clean machines. The fabric is contaminated by hydraulic oil or lubricant oil or ink or chemical and need to be sent to hazardous waste. 

The classification into hazardous and non-hazardous waste may differ from one country legislation to another that may define which ‘waste’ are categorized as hazardous differently. The facility should follow the legal waste requirements. If legal requirements are not available, select more stringent industry guidelines.

How this will be verified:

  • Yes
    • Documentation required
      • Production Waste
      • Packaging waste (e.g. chemical drums and containers)
      • Domestic Waste
      • List of ALL hazardous waste produced by the facility
      • Method of tracking the quantity for ALL hazardous waste
      • Records for tracking both the quantity and type of disposal (including disposal destination) of ALL hazardous waste (e.g. invoices from waste contractors)
    • Interview discussion
      • Management can describe the major sources of hazardous waste and describe their fate (where they are disposed of)
      • Review the procedures in place for tracking non-hazardous waste
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Sources of hazardous waste production
      • Collection sites for waste disposal

3. Does your facility segregate all waste streams into non-hazardous and hazardous waste, and store them separately? 

Suggested Upload: Photos of segregated storage sites

 

Answer Yes if you segregate hazardous and non-hazardous waste for appropriate management.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is for your facility to segregate hazardous and non-hazardous waste for appropriate management.

This question is important because your facility needs to dispose of hazardous and non-hazardous waste differently. Segregating hazardous and non-hazardous waste can prevent unwanted reactions between the waste streams, help reduce cost (mixing waste can increase the volume of waste classified as hazardous which is more expensive to dispose of), and prevent unwanted exposure for personnel (source: GSCP). 

Technical Guidance:

The first step is to make sure that legal requirements in relation to waste generation and segregation, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal are met. There should be procedures for the management, storage and transportation of hazardous and non-hazardous waste. The facility should provide sufficient working instruction and signs for handling and segregating non-hazardous waste. This can be a training, awareness campaigns, posters, working instructions, signs directing where to put which waste, etc. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be provided to employees when handling waste. Instruction should be provided to:

  • Personnel responsible of handling and segregating non-hazardous waste
  • To anyone that can produce non-hazardous and has to collect and segregate in the right garbage bin (e.g., all workers at the canteen, production floor, dorm, etc.) 

How this will be verified:

  • Yes
    • Documentation required
      • Documentation for segregated waste into non-hazardous and hazardous
      • Training materials and record for waste handling and segregation training
    • Interview questions to ask
      • Key Employees are trained to segregate wastes
      • Key Employees discussion:
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Location of segregated waste area as collection points around the factory and clear instruction or signs at the collection point to physically segregate both hazardous and non-hazardous waste
      • On-site evidences to support an established procedure for separating waste  
      • Collection sites for waste disposal -- are they clearly segregated, marked, and controlled as required by the danger imposed by the contents?

4. Does your facility have well-marked, designated hazardous waste storage areas?

Suggested Upload: Photos of segregated storage sites

 

The hazardous waste storage area is ventilated, dry and protected from the weather, and fire risk.

The hazardous waste storage area is protected from unauthorized employees (i.e. locked).

The hazardous waste storage area is clearly marked.

Storage containers are in good condition, appropriate for their contents, closed and clearly labeled with their contents.

Where liquid wastes are stored, the floor is solid and non-porous, containers have lids, there are no water drains that the liquid could spill into, and there is no evidence of spilled liquid.

Flammable substances are kept away from sources of heat or ignition, including the use of grounding and explosion-proof lighting.

 

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is to ensure proper storage of hazardous waste containers in all parts of your facility.

Hazardous wastes pose a greater risk to the environment and human health than non-hazardous wastes and thus require stricter management process. It’s important to segregate hazardous waste and secure storage areas and containers to eliminate risk to workers and the environment.

Technical Guidance:

The facility should have a dedicated location for the hazardous waste storage. The storage area should have the following features:

  • The location should be further from people, fire source and high traffic flow area.
  • Store corrosives, flammables and explosives in dry, cool areas, out of direct sunlight and away from steam pipes, boilers or other sources of heat. Follow the chemical manufacturer’s or supplier’s recommendations for storage temperature.
  • Proper roofing and flooring to prevent rainwater from seeping through waste and to prevent any leakage to infiltrate to the ground and ground-water.
  • Spill containment available and workers trained to use it in case of leakage
  • Firefighting equipment if oxidizers, explosives, flammable or gasses under pressure wastes are stored in the area
  • Sufficient ventilation. Well-designed and well-maintained ventilation systems remove corrosive, flammable and toxic vapors, fumes, mists or airborne dusts from the workplace and reduce their hazards. Some places may need a complete system of hoods and ducts to provide acceptable ventilation. Others may require a single, well-placed exhaust fan. Use corrosion-resistant construction in ventilation systems for corrosive materials. No special ventilation system may be needed when working with small amounts of corrosives which do not give off airborne contaminants.
  • Locked and secured at all times. Only authorized person is allowed to enter.
  • Provide appropriate warning signage at the entrance
  • Display the personal protective equipment (PPE) list that is needed for entering the area
  • Provide the PPE needed for entering the area
  • Display the simplified Safety Data Sheet
  • Segregate accordingly to the chemical compatibility matrix:

  • Wrong segregation may lead to incompatible wastes reacting together to create fires, explosions or to release toxic gas
  • Wastes are being stored in containers compatible to their contents. The choice of materials as steel, aluminum, fibre, plastic, etc… needs to be linked to the product it will contain. Make sure the waste is not going to react with the container itself. Some wastes are highly corrosive which may cause a reaction with a metal container, possibly causing the container to fail and release the waste. Plastic or plastic-lined containers are good solutions for corrosive wastes. Steel containers are a good choice for non-corrosive and flammable liquids.
  • Waste containers should be closed or made secure when not in use; open-topped skips should be covered securely.
  • All containers and receptacles should be clearly labelled with their contents and hazard characteristics
  • Waste containers are in good condition
  • A good housekeeping to be maintained for preventing the area to become breeding ground for rodents and insects.
  • Regular inspections of on-site waste storage areas should be undertaken at a frequency in proportion to the risk and maintain the above requirement at all time.

How this will be verified:

  • Yes
    • Documentation required
      • Procedures for ensuring hazardous waste storage are always kept compliant with the above requirement
    • Interview questions to ask
      • Management understands the dangers of hazardous waste and the importance of preventing contamination
      • Key employees are trained on how to prevent contamination in hazardous storage area
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Wastes are being stored in a specific location and all the above requirements are fulfilled. (ref to Technical Guidance)

 

5. Does your facility have well-marked, designated non-hazardous waste storage areas?

Suggested Upload: Photos of segregated storage sites

 

The non-hazardous waste storage area is ventilated, dry and protected from the weather, and fire risk.

The non-hazardous waste storage area is protected from unauthorized employees (i.e. locked).

The non-hazardous waste storage area is clearly marked

Storage containers are in good condition, appropriate for their contents, closed and clearly labeled with their contents.

Where liquid wastes are stored, the floor is solid and non-porous, containers have lids, there are no water drains that the liquid could spill into, and there is no evidence of spilled liquid.

Flammable substances are kept away from sources of heat or ignition, including the use of grounding and explosion-proof lighting.

 

What is the intent of the question?

This intent is to ensure proper storage of non-hazardous waste in all parts of your facility.

Non-hazardous wastes can pose contamination risks (e.g., pollution, waste being dispersed by the wind, food waste leachate) and risks to workers (e.g., fire, sharp objects)

Waste shouldn’t be kept too long and in too much quantity as leachate can happen (especially for food waste or coating on metals or other type of materials that contain hazardous substances). Any site where waste is concentrated and stored even for a short period of time may be a potential point source of ground and groundwater contamination.

Technical Guidance:

A storage area should be available to contain the sorted waste while waiting for the contractor to collect for disposal. General requirement of a non-hazardous waste storage area should include:

  • Location: Further from people, fire source.
  • Proper roofing and flooring and walls: Prevent rainwater from seeping through waste and generate leachate to the ground and ground-water. Protect the floor with impervious (meaning that the material used to cover the floor will not allow any liquid to infiltrate / get through) surfaces to avoid any contamination of the ground from waste leachate or coating substances on non-hazardous waste (printing materials, paintings, etc…) and avoid spreading
  • Housekeeping: A good housekeeping to be maintained for preventing the area to become breeding ground for rodents and insects.
  • Firefighting equipment if flammable wastes are stored in the area (e.g., paper, cardboard, etc…)
  • Provide appropriate warning signage at the entrance and inside the storage area such as "no smoking" signs, “no food”, name and location of where to store the different types of recyclables. All signs should be in a visible location and in a language(s) that can be understood by workers handling waste
  • Display and provide the PPE list that is needed for entering the area if any risks (gloves for sharp waste, mask for dusty waste…)
  • Regular inspections of on-site waste storage areas should be undertaken by the waste engineer at a frequency in proportion to the risk and inspections record should be kept.

 

Leachate is the liquid (e.g., rain) that drains or ‘leaches’ (e.g., water contained in food waste) from waste when water percolates through any waste. It varies widely in composition regarding the age of the waste and the type of waste. It usually contains both dissolved and suspended material.

 

How this will be verified:

  • Yes
    • Documentation required
      • Procedures for ensuring non-hazardous waste storage does not become contaminated
    • Interview questions to ask
      • Management understands the dangers of non-hazardous waste and the importance of preventing contamination
      • Key employees are trained on how to prevent contamination in non-hazardous storage area
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Wastes are being stored in a specific location and all the above requirements are fulfilled. (ref to Technical Guidance)

 

6. Does your facility forbid open burning and dumping on-site?

Open burning is forbidden

·       If open burning is not forbidden, please describe the technology used and how you control air emissions

Open dumping is forbidden

·       If open dumping is not forbidden, please describe the technology used and how you control air emissions

 

What is the intent of the question?

On-site open burning or landfilling of waste can cause contamination in the soil and groundwater, air pollution from smoke emissions and health hazards (GSCP).The intent is to drive you to eliminate all open burning and on-site dumping at your facility

How does this question help a facility drive improvement?

Any unauthorized burning of waste in the premise of your factory site should be forbidden as air emissions will not be controlled, collected and treated. All waste gasses should be released through a chimney, stack, or vent so emissions can be controlled and filter can apply to capture pollution in some case. 

Technical Guidance:

Burning waste on facility premises (inside or outside) with no air emissions control equipment and without special authorization from your environmental legal agency should be forbidden. If you do incinerate on-site, please explain the technology, the approval process, and how you control air emissions in the comment field provided. Any uncontrolled waste landfilling (i.e. landfilling without the appropriate license/ permit) should be forbidden. All your hazardous waste should be passed on to a licensed and permitted handler (Certified legal contractor) and solid waste should be managed by a qualified third-party vendor that will treat the waste minimizing and controlling all health and environmental impact. Final disposal and treatment shouldn’t be handled on-site (in the factory premise) by the factory employees. 

How this will be verified:

  • Yes (there is no partial yes option allowed for this question)
    • Documentation required
      • Policy for forbidding burning onsite
    • Interview questions to ask
      • Management and Key employees are made aware of non burning onsite policy
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Uncontrolled burning or uncontrolled landfilling activities on-site 

7. Does your site provide training to all employees whose work involves hazardous waste handling (such as maintenance and custodial staff)?

If yes, please select all topics included in your training:

·       Proper handling

·       Storage and disposal techniques and procedures

·       Specific operational procedures for waste minimization

·       Use of personal protective equipment

·       Other, please specify

 

Suggested Upload: List of trained individuals, training materials (including calendar), certifications

You will be awarded full points if all topics were included in your training.

If some, but not all, topics were included you will be awarded partial points

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is for you to educate all necessary workers on appropriate waste handling procedures.

Technical Guidance:

Factory is advised to include the following important elements in the training:

  • Proper handling
    • An overview of legal requirements and the environmental consequences of poor waste handling and management.
    • How to identify, segregate and collect hazardous waste
    • Awareness on what the waste contains how to react to any incidents that may happen.
  • Storage and disposal techniques and procedures
    • An overview of positive environmental benefits of waste segregation including quality control and ensuring highest value recycling options.
  • Use of personal protective equipment
    • Introduction on the use of proper tools and protective equipment when handling waste.

In addition to training, factory should provide sufficient working instruction and signs for handling and segregating non-hazardous waste.

How this will be verified:

  • Yes
    • Documentation required
      • Proper handling
      • Storage and disposal techniques and procedures
      • Specific operational procedures for waste minimization
      • Use of Personal         protective equipment
      • Training documentation including ALL of the below:
    • Interview questions to ask
      • Key employees have undergone hazardous waste handling training.
      • Employees understand the risks of not following the safety procedures
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Training documents
      • Training sign in sheets
      • Pictures of Training event
    • Other
  • Partial Yes: Partial credit if all the preventive measure to fully control any contamination (air, soil and underground…) are not fully in place and controlled yet
    • Training documentation including some of the below:
      • Proper handling
      • Storage and disposal techniques and procedures
      • Specific operational procedures for waste minimization
      • Use of Personal         protective equipment
    • Key employees have undergone hazardous waste handling training.
    • Training documents
    • Training sign in sheets
    • Pictures of Training event
    • Documentation required
    • Interview questions to ask
    • Inspection - things to physically look for

 

Waste - Level 2 

8. Has your facility set a baseline for solid waste? If yes, select all sources of waste for which your facility has set a baseline:

9. Did you set a baseline for waste disposal methods for your facility's overall waste?

·      If yes, indicate which methods.

 In order to demonstrate improvements or reductions, it’s important to know what your starting point is. A “baseline” is a starting point or benchmark that you can use to compare yourself against over time. For example, if your factory produced 15 kgs of domestic waste per product in 2016, you will be able to compare your performance against this amount in years to come. In this example, “15 kgs of domestic waste per product in 2016” is an example of a normalized baseline. Please note that you may need to set separate baselines for total amount of waste generated and disposal method.

Please note that you may need to set separate baselines for total amount of waste generated and disposal method. 

What is the intent of the question?

In order to demonstrate improvements or reductions, it’s important to know what your starting point is. By selecting a base year and calculating the waste performance of that year (i.e., baseline), you can have a clear reference point for you to benchmark ongoing performance and compare it against your targets.

Technical guidance:

Data validation is very important for this step. The data needs to be stable before setting the baseline. A viable baseline is developed:

  1. using stable data: if your factory has undergone major structural change such as acquisition and change in product type, you shall select the baseline after those changes are complete  
  2. normalization factors are consistent and valid: the factors selected have to be representable and relevant to your business nature so that meaningful data comparisons can be done
  3. verified data: data should be accurate and verifiable. Verified energy data from Higg FEM 3.0 is an acceptable source of baseline. Baseline data verified by internal audit process is also acceptable)
  4. Facility construction and demolition (C&D) waste should not be included in the baseline: As C&D waste is not generated from a “Business as usual” situation, it shall not be included in the baseline and reduction performance 

How this will be verified:

  • Yes:
    • Documentation required
      • Documentation of the target - any target is satisfactory.
      • For targets with specific quantitative goals, they must show how they calculated into a percent.
      • Baseline communicated to the relevant employees and linked to the major impact source as identified in Level 1.
      • Ability to demonstrate how baseline data was validated (e.g., used Higg 3.0 verified data, used internal validation process)
    • Interview questions to ask
      • Management should be able to describe how target and quantitative goals were set.
    • Inspection – things to physically look for
      • Waste disposal methods in the facility

 

10. Does your facility set formal targets to reduce waste quantity?

Select all sources of waste for which your facility has set a quantity or improvement target.

 

11. Did you set a target for improving waste disposal methods for your facility's overall waste?

·      If yes, indicate which methods. 


You will receive full points if you set targets for waste streams that make up 80% or more of your total waste generated.

You will receive partial points if you set targets for waste sources that make up 50-79% or more of your total waste generated. This is to reward you for aiming to reduce your greatest sources of waste generation which will maximize environmental impact.

We recommend that you set normalized targets such as “reduce hazardous waste generated per product by 80% by 2020”. This is because normalized metrics show real improvement rather than reductions from business changes such as reduced production. For example, if your baseline was “15 kgs of hazardous waste per product in 2016” then a good normalized target might be: “Reduce hazardous waste generated by 80% per product by 2020”. 

Please note that you may need to set separate targets for total amount of waste generated and disposal method.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is for you to complete at least one waste reduction target for your facility. 

A waste inventory facilitates creation of waste management strategies and also highlight areas with opportunity for improvement. Unlocking the potential benefit is supported by creating a target based on a baseline metric. 

For Higg FEM, reduction targets may be normalized to the production volume metric (selected in Site Info section: Production volue unit). This ensures progress is real versus a result of business changes such as a reduction in production leading to waste improvement.  An example of a normalized target might be “amount of waste that is generated at your site” or “increasing disposal method with less impact on the environment”, defined as kg/pieces or Kg / employees or % of waste sent to landfill.

 

The disposal of waste should be considered to be an act of last resort and that, in priority order, alternatives such as avoiding the creation or minimizing the generation of wastes and re-using or recycling waste should be considered when planning work or projects. Minimizing the environmental impact of your waste means that your facility is putting efforts in place to produce less waste (Reduce) or select disposal method that have a smaller impact on the environment based on the hierarchy below:

  1.     Reuse
  2.     Recycled
  3.     Incinerated with energy recovery
  4.     Incinerated
  5.     Landfilled

Examples of improvements to disposal methods include: Eliminate or reduce waste generation at the source; Reuse waste (without any modification of the waste); Increase quantity of waste recycling; Use another treatment that has lower impact on the environment (e.g., energy recovery)

Overall, a target defines the point of success for employee efforts to realize efficiency gains and environmental impact reductions.  Targets can be long-term or short-term (short term=less than 5 years, long term=more than 5 years). Once set, progress should be reviewed at least quarterly to ensure adjustments are made as needed to stay on track to realize success.   

Technical Guidance:

An example of a normalized target is kilograms of waste produced for the production of one kilogram of sellable product (kg/kg).

  • First, understand what a target is: A formal target here refers to a quantified performance requirement of the site’s annual production of a particular waste source. A formal target must:
    • 1) include a definite start date (i.e., "baseline") of target, the measurement unit, and the baseline consumption (i.e. kg/year at 2010 baseline)
    • 2) include an end date of the target, meaning the intended completion of the required reductions; and
    • 3) include an exact reduction quantity, expressed as a number (e.g. paper waste to be reduced by 0.2kg/ 100K USD) or a percentage (e.g. reduce by 5%).
    • 4) be relevant to reducing the site’s waste production (e.g. focuses on the most significant waste sources at the site)
  • Second, enter your factory’s targets. For each target, state the following. For example:
    • Select source targeted to be improved: Glass
    • M3 (autopopulated from total above)
    • Action Taken: Eliminate or reduce waste generation at the source; Reuse waste (without any modification of the waste) (e.g. reuse a water bottle to refill with drinking water) ; Increase quantity of waste recycling (e.g. segregate and dispose of glass bottle to a recycling contractor); Use another treatment that have lower impact on the environment (e.g., energy recovery)
    • What is your target change for waste generated from this source?: -10%
    • Normalized or Absolute Target?
    • What is the target year? 2020
    • Proposed kg reduction: This is the metric for your target
    • Describe the measures planned to achieve this target: Improve waste segregation in order to recover useful waste from landfill; appoint new waste management contractor which can recycle waste which was not previously collected.

Management review of the waste reduction and improvement targets, including review of performance against waste reduction targets and recycling performance, has to be conducted at least quarterly to drive continuous improvement.

How this will be verified:

  • Yes
    • Documentation required
      • Waste reduction target and strategies/ Waste management plan
      • Full points if the facility set targets for waste streams that make up 80% or more of thier total waste generated.
    • Interview questions to ask
      • Management facilitates annual reviews of waste reduction and recycling targets
      • Briefly describe the plan or strategies for waste reduction, state:
        • Department/ person responsible for the plan
        • Timeframe of the plan
        • Year that the plan was implemented
      • Discussion with Management:
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Evidences supporting waste reduction target strategies
  • Partial Yes
    • Waste reduction target and strategies/ Waste management plan in progress of being finalized
    • Partial points if facility sets targets for waste sources that make up 50-79% or more of thier total waste generated.
    • Management facilitates annual reviews of waste reduction and recycling targets
    • Evidences supporting waste reduction target strategies is in progress
    • Documentation required
    • Interview questions to ask
    • Inspection - things to physically look for  

12. Does your facility have an implementation plan to reduce waste quantity or improve type of treatment?

Upload a copy of the plan.

·      This should be a waste reduction plan showing specific actions designed to achieve targeted reductions in waste consumption

Answer Yes if you have an implementation plan in place that demonstrates you are taking action to achieve your targeted reductions or improvements.

Answer Partial Yes if you have a plan but have not started on all action items.

You may download a sample implementation plan here

NOTE: This is NOT scoring the actual % of improvement because a facility may be working on the last 5-10% of waste management opportunities which is hard to make up. We don't want to falsely reward beginners and give fewer points to leaders.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is for your facility to create an action plan for improving waste management (amount or final disposal).

Target-setting is an important step in systematically managing waste, but your site must take action to make reductions. Having an implementation plan demonstrates the action you are taking to achieve your targeted reductions. Some facilities may have an implementation plan without having set targets. 

Technical Guidance:

This is your opportunity to document all business processes for waste management projects happening at your facility.

Steps for action should include:

  1.    Identification of waste improvement opportunities
  2.    Evaluate waste management alternatives
  3.    Approve funds for chosen solution
  4.    Implement the solution and document reductions
  5.    Conduct regular review to check progress of improvement projects

How to create an implementation plan?

You will need management’s commitment, employee awareness, and participation to ensure improvement opportunities can be identified, solutions can be proposed, and changes can be made using capital or expense dollars if necessary to successfully implement proposed solutions. To effectively identify waste management opportunities, a waste minimization audit can be conducted. The audit typically provides a systematic assessment of waste generated on-site and identifies opportunities to reduce the environmental and cost impacts of the waste. Often this can involve third party consultation, literature and technology research, design firms, and pilot testing among many other potential paths toward implementation of solutions.  All activity related to meeting targets should be part of an implementation plan to ensure organized and coordinated progress steps take place from the start. The implementation plan should be reviewed at least on an annual basis and the plan should at minimum include improvement project details, appropriate implementation timeline and responsible parties. 

How this will be verified:

  • Yes
    • Documentation required
      • Plan is in place for managing and implementing environmental performance improvements of waste management.
    • Interview questions to ask
      • Management has communicated plan for managing and implementing environmental performance         improvements of waste management to key employees
      • Key employees understand the plan for managing and implementing environmental performance improvement of waste management
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Plan for managing and implementing environmental performance improvements of waste management is readily available to employees
      • Evidences to support plan is being followed in facility

 

  • Partial Yes
    • Facility is in the process of creating a plan for managing and implementing environmental performance improvements of waste management.
    • Management understand how to create and finalize their plan for managing and implementing environmental performance improvements of waste management
    • Evidence to support the facility is in the progress of creating a plan for managing and implementing environmental performance improvements of waste management.
    • There are clear next steps outlines for completing the plan
    • Documentation required
    • Interview questions to ask
    • Inspection - things to physically look for 

13. Has your facility reduced waste quantity or improve type of treatment, compared with the established baseline?

Select all sources of waste for which your facility made improvements.

 

You will receive full points if you made reductions for waste sources that make up 80% or more of your total waste generated.

You will receive partial points if you made reductions for waste sources that make up 50-79% or more of your total waste generated. This is to reward you for reducing your greatest sources of waste which will maximize environmental impact. 

We recommend that you show normalized reductions such as “hazardous waste per product was reduced by 80% in 2017.” This is because normalized metrics show real improvement rather than reductions from business changes such as reduced production.

What is the intent of the question?

Sustainability is a journey of continuous improvement. Success is the result of extensive work involved in tracking, setting targets, and performing to implementation plans to meet targets. This question provides an opportunity to display improvements made in waste management in the most recent year.   

By tracking success over the previous year, a facility proves through results the commitment made towards sustainability. Maintaining continuous reductions and/or re-calculate of the baseline over time will provide a facility with effective reduction tracking. This is your opportunity to demonstrate impact reduction from your hard work to track, set targets and create an action plan. Use this question to share what you have accomplished! 

Technical Guidance:

You should be able to demonstrate normalized waste reduction for at least one of the waste streams at your facility (e.g., general waste, discarded fabrics, waste from cutting, etc.). Facility construction and demolition (C&D) waste should not be included in the baseline and reduction performance. Also, the reductions are attributable to measures taken by the site. 

If the reduction achieved is linked to the reduction of consumption in another section, you CANNOT get the points in the waste section. E.g., If you reduce the quantity of chemicals used in your process, automatically the quantity of empty chemical drums will reduce. In that case you will not get credit in the waste section. On the other hand, if you work with your suppliers to receive your chemical substance in tank instead of bottle, this will reduce the quantity of empty chemical containers, then you can score this reduction in the waste section.

How this will be verified:

  • Yes
    • Documentation required
      • Fill list of sources improved
      • % improvement achieved in the last calendar year
      • A description of the plan/strategies used to achieve these improvements
    • Interview questions to ask
      • Management understands the concept of sustainable waste disposal methods and whether current site waste generation is sustainable
      • Management is actively promoting or endorsing site implementation of leading practices in relation to, for example, minimizing virgin material use and waste generation and increasing the percentage of site waste materials that are recycled and/or the generation of energy from waste
      • Management understand what recognized international standard practice is in relation to waste reduction/recycling for their sector/geography and have set site targets that exceed those practices
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Process in the facility which have contributed to improvements made listed in strategies
  • Partial Yes
    • List of most of the sources improved
    • % improvement achieved in the last calendar year
    • A description of the plan/strategies used to achieve these improvements
    • Management understands the concept of sustainable waste disposal methods and whether current site waste generation is sustainable
    • Process in the facility which have contributed to improvements made listed in strategies
    • Documentation required
    • Interview questions to ask
    • Inspection - things to physically look for

 

14. Has your facility improved waste disposal methods for overall waste in 2017, compared with the baseline?

Select all sources of waste for which your facility made improvements.

 

Waste - Level 3

15. Does your facility validate the final disposal and treatment of all hazardous wastes?

If yes, upload supporting documentation.

Describe how you work with your facility’s waste contractors to ensure appropriate disposal during the waste treatment.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is to validate the final disposal and treatment of all hazardous waste . You should be able to describe how you engage with your waste contractors, including your workflow and process to ensure their environmental performance. 

Technical Guidance:

Hazardous waste poses serious risk to the environment when improperly treated and disposed of. It is considered leading practice for a facility to take extra steps to confirm that their waste contractors are properly transporting, storing, treating and disposing of hazardous wastes from your facility site. Facilities should screen, validate and check contractors every three years.

A facility should evaluate its waste contractors during the contractor selection process and conduct regular assessments of the waste contractors to ensure that they are operating in legal compliance and with the terms of the contract. Things to look for in your waste contractor:

  • When evaluating waste management contractor, consider:
    • Legal compliance performance of the contractor
    • Their overall environmental performance
    • Cost viability of using the contractor’s services (GSCP)
  • Conduct regular assessments after the contract is placed. Things to look for in your waste contractor:
    • Implement practices to transport waste in a way that is traceable, secure, and waste must remain segregated and properly labeled at all times
    • Have a facility with impermeable surfaces, proper security, and fire/flood protection
    • Not engage in illegal dumping or burning either on or off-site
    • Implement human health and safety practices such as providing employee access to personal protective equipment, training, and machine safety 

How this will be verified:

  • Yes
    • Documentation required
      • Records of validating final disposal of ALL hazardous waste
      • Records for validating with contractors every 3 years
    • Interview questions to ask
      • Management is able to explain how they work with contractors to ensure their environmental performance during the waste treatment
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Evidences to support facility has validated their waste contractors waste treatment in the past 3 years. 

16. Has your factory diverted at least 90 percent of all discarded materials from landfills, incinerators and the environment?

Please describe how this is implemented.

Suggested Upload: Waste inventory and waste manifests showing >90% diversion from landfills/incinerators

Zero waste to landfill is defined as diverting 90% of all discarded materials from landfills, incinerators and the environment. Answer yes If you can demonstrate that you divert 90% or more of all waste.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is for your facility to divert all waste from landfill or incineration. Waste disposal is considered as the least economically favorable and environmentally beneficial waste management option. In order to qualify for this point the facility must divert 90% of all waste from landfill or incineration through recycling, closed loop material take-back program, or incineration with energy recovery. 

Technical Guidance:

It is recognized that a mature industrial economy could not reach literal zero waste and there are different thresholds guiding zero waste. This question aspires the facility to attain leading practices in waste reduction by diverting 90 percent of all discarded materials from landfills, incinerators and the environment: a condition defined by Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) as “Zero Waste” (http://zwia.org/standards/zero-is-zero/)

A useful hierarchy for how to move closer to Zero Waste can be found here: http://zwia.org/standards/zero-waste-hierarchy/ 

Achieving true “zero” waste is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Given that reality, the two most important aspect to demonstrate are:

  1. All viable waste diversion options are considered
  2. You have a process to examine remaining materials and use this information to refine your systems to rethink, reduce, reuse, and recycle in order to prevent further discards. If you can demonstrate proactive thought on remaining materials, this is satisfactory for “zero waste” at this point

How this will be verified:

  • Yes
    • Documentation required
      • Documentation of all waste disposal paths.
      • Documentation of process to examine and prepare to divert any remaining wastes.
    • Interview questions to ask
      • Management is aware and able to explain how the remaining wastes are being considered for future diversion.
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Evidences to support this plan.

17. Does your facility upcycle some of its waste or insert its waste into a circular economy system? 

If yes, describe how. 

Suggested Upload: Pictures or process flows, showing type and amounts of waste that are recycled into products of the same or higher value

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is to drive the facility to upcycle or reuse waste generated at the facility.

Technical Guidance:

Upcycling is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless and/or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

Recycling used garments and fabrics to manufacture new clothing, making fabric from used plastic bottles, and upcycling coal ash from the boiler room to make bricks are some examples of upcycling. A facility can engage its material suppliers, buyers and waste management contractors to find creative solutions to upcycle wastes.

How this will be verified:

  • Yes
    • Documentation required
      • Records to indicate the facility upcycles some of its waste or inserts it back into circular economy
    • Interview questions to ask
      • Management is able to explain how facility upcycles some of its waste or inserts it back into circular economy
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
      • Evidences to support facility upcycles some of its waste or inserts it back into circular economy 
  • Partial Yes
    • Facility has documentation to show a plan in progress for implementing procedures to upcycle or insert their waste into circular economy
    • Management is overseeing the plan in place to upcycle or insert some of its waste into circular economy.
    • Evidences to support a plan in progress to support waste being upcycled or inserted into circular economy
    • Documentation required
    • Interview questions to ask
    • Inspection - things to physically look for
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