Northrop Grumman in Palmdale has been recognized for its ongoing efforts to reduce industrial waste.
A ceremony this week recognized the aeronautics firm as a “Zero Waste” facility which means they implement innovative solutions, according to standards set by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council. Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence, part of the aerospace systems sector, was recognized and received Zero Waste certification from the council for successfully diverting more than 90 percent of its waste from landfill, incineration and the environment.
“This is about efficiency,” said Stephanie Barger, founder and executive director of the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council. “You have to know your trash. When employees are handling all this excess packaging, you’re losing time. You’re paying for all that packaging to come in, and then you’re paying for it all to go to the landfill.”
Northrop Grumman sees the Zero Waste certification as full support of its 2020 environmental sustainability goals already in place, said company officials. Andy Reynolds, vice president of the firm’s global manufacturing and manager of the Palmdale plant, said early attention to waste products—simple things like wood pallets and cardboard boxes—began first during its F-35-Lightning II program.
“Because of the volume of parts that come in, and the way we package everything, we obviously had an awful lot of waste,” Reynolds said. “So we went and created the containers that the parts come in. They’re reusable, and so it eliminated needless waste.”
Northrop Grumman wants to achieve solid waste diversion by a maximum of 70 percent by 2020. By doing so, officials believe that their efforts may encourage other local businesses and organizations—big and small—to achieve higher Zero Waste standards. As well, since the Palmdale site introduced the Zero Waste program in 2012, the estimated savings from waste reduction, reuse purposes and landfill avoidance has amounted to $4 million.