Eaton Recognizes South Carolina Plant

SUMTER, S.C. — Power management company Eaton is recognizing its Commercial Distribution Products and Assemblies Division’s (CDPA) facility in Sumter, South Carolina, for achieving “zero waste-to-landfill” by nearly eliminating all wastes sent to landfills through recycling, re-use, new work processes and other means. 

Eaton is encouraging its manufacturing sites to achieve zero waste-to-landfill as part of its waste management program and also as a means to reduce the release of greenhouse gases (GHG) associated with landfills, especially methane, a GHG 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In 2015, Eaton reduced its landfilled wastes by over 23 percent — more than 6,000 metric tons — as part of a global zero waste-to-landfill program. This eliminated 5,300 metric tons of CO2 that otherwise would have been released during the transportation and storage of landfilled wastes in 2015. Together, more than 70 Eaton sites around the world have achieved the goal of sending zero waste to the landfill.

“Waste reduction is environmentally responsible and the right thing to do for our CDPA Electrical facility in Sumter and our community,” said Rob Williams, plant manager. “Doing what’s right for the environment is part of our culture of doing business right. I am very proud of the Sumter Team for making a positive difference through their support of our local recycling programs.”

The 800 employees working at the facility produce low voltage panelboards and switchboards for commercial and industrial applications.

Eaton defines “zero waste-to-landfill” as consistently achieving a landfill waste diversion rate of 98 percent through either reuse, composting, recycling, or incineration – but only if the heat generated by incineration is collected and used in order to create more energy than was required for the incineration process. Eaton zero-waste sites undergo an intensive audit process that includes verifying that at least 98 percent of a site’s waste is diverted consistently for three months.

The Sumter facility’s waste reduction program began in 2015. A plan was developed that called for landfilled materials such as metal scrap, cardboard, pallets, plastic, general office trash and other wastes to be recycled, reused, converted to energy or eliminated from work processes. Employee training was another major plan component. 

“With help from Eaton’s Corporate Environment, Health and Safety staff, our CDPA Electrical facility in Sumter was able to integrate new work processes and awareness training into existing Eaton business processes,” said Kevin Charles, manager, interim facility Environment, Health and Safety, Eaton. “And with Eaton’s focus on doing business right, it didn’t take long for a culture of sustainability to develop among our employees.”

“Eaton’s commitment to zero waste-to-landfill helps deliver the environmental performance that reflects Eaton’s leadership in sustainable business practices,” said Harold Jones, Eaton’s senior vice president for Environment, Health and Safety. “And, we are striving to get better. Since 2010, Eaton has reduced our waste to landfill by 42 percent. In 2016, we plan to reduce our waste by an additional 3 percent, and add as many as 20 more zero waste sites. It all starts with our employees generating the ideas and enthusiasm to help Eaton do business right.”


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