- Environmental Compliance
- Environmental Management
- Water Use
- Water Preservation
- Paper Consumption
Recycling is a key element of our corporate culture. Most of our offices have formal recycling programs for general items, such as paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass. Our offices and employees are aware of our commitment to expand our “Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse” program wherever possible.
Recycling in North America
While municipalities across the United States have various types of recycling available, our policy is to recycle whatever we can where we work. In 2014, 80 percent of our offices recycled paper and provided shredding services (which subsequently recycle), and in 2015, we achieved our goal to increase that coverage to 100 percent in our area offices. In 2016, we will continue to strengthen our paper recycling programs in area offices that need enhancement.
In addition, several of our offices make composting available so employees can take compost home for their gardens. In cooperation with food supplier Sodexo and a food recycling company, our corporate campus offers composting from the café kitchen out to the cafeteria. We also compost coffee grounds from the break rooms on each floor. Sodexo provides compostable to-go containers that make composting easier for staff. In addition, our office in Bellevue, Washington, began food composting in 2015.
At our corporate headquarters, we provide recycling bins for pens, plastic bags and comingle paper, aluminum, technology, batteries, and light bulbs and ballasts. We also recycle furniture through donations and use in other offices. We recycle as much material from renovations as possible through donations to Habitat for Humanity, as well as using a metal recycler.
The following are examples of outstanding recycling success stories in 2015:
- Our Vancouver, Canada, office landlord provides an extensive recycling program, free of charge, for paper and cardboard, organics, multi-materials, batteries and electronics, light bulbs, and garbage. The landlord also sponsored a “Shred Fest,” where employees were encouraged to bring their personal documents from home to be confidentially shredded and recycled for free. In addition, the landlord offered a full day dedicated to free recycling for electronics, metals, plastic, household items, and expanded polystyrene.
- Our office in Sacramento, California, has donated hundreds of binders to various schools. As one of our engineers who made a delivery to a school full of disadvantaged kids commented, “It was so satisfying to get to help them and keep this stuff from being thrown away.”
- As part of an office move in Spartanburg, South Carolina, employees recycled 561 lamps, 1.6 tons of commingled material, 5.4 tons of cardboard, 23.5 tons of paper, and 3.9 tons of scrap metal from their cubicles and offices. In addition, they donated 167 chairs, 1,340 binders, 8 white boards, 10 bookshelves, and 9 cabinets to schools and faith-based organizations. The office also held auctions for equipment, memorabilia, and furniture that could not be donated.
We also have national agreements in place for recycling the following:
- Batteries: Recycling batteries keeps heavy metals out of landfills and mitigates potential groundwater contamination. It also saves resources because recovered plastic and metals are used to make new batteries. In 2015, our North American offices recycled 1,096 kilograms (2,417 pounds) of batteries.
- Pens: Old pens, highlighters, and markers are collected and shipped to TerraCycle for plastic recycling. For each item recycled, CH2M receives US$0.02, which is donated to Engineers Without Borders USA in Denver, one of our strategic nonprofit partners. In 2015, we recycled 7,116 writing instruments. The pen recycling program kept old pens out of the landfill and turned them into new plastic items, while we donated US$142 directly to Engineers Without Borders.
- Shredded Paper Recycling: In addition to our regular paper recycling program, we securely shredded and recycled 212 tons (192 tonnes) of paper with our shredding vendor, Iron Mountain.
Recycling Outside of North America
We continue to encourage local offices in Europe to set their own waste reduction and recycling targets. At our larger UK offices, we have worked with our waste contractors to install containers that allow greater segregation and recycling of waste, including plastics, paper and cardboard, glass, batteries, and newspapers. In parallel, many UK offices do not need trash bins at each desk and, instead, replaced them with waste and recycling hubs at strategic locations. We also have a program to promote recovery and recycling of toner cartridges.
Waste paper produced by our UK offices is segregated and recycled wherever possible. We also segregate, and securely handle and dispose of confidential waste in accordance with applicable security standards. In 2015, we securely disposed of and recycled almost 51 tonnes (56 tons) of confidential waste paper. In addition, the disposal of offsite, stored, archive documents has resulted in a further 13 tonnes (14 tons) of waste paper being securely disposed of and recycled.
Offices in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand diverted 1,909 kilograms (4,200 pounds) of electronic waste from the landfill through company-approved reuse and recycling services.
The Middle East offices recycled 17,793 kilograms (39,227 pounds) of paper waste and 799 printer cartridges, in addition to recycling cardboard, plastic, metal, and glass.
The Australia EMS program continued recycling paper, batteries, mobile phones, and fluorescent light tubes. The EMS team accomplished its goal of purchasing 100 percent of its paper stocks as 100 percent recycled content or carbon-neutral paper. It will continue to purchase all standard, white office paper with 100 percent recycled content. Paper waste is minimized through awareness communications and enhanced copier functionality, and waste paper is recycled. Australian offices recycled approximately 680 kilograms (1,497 pounds) of electronic waste, up significantly from previous years because of office restructures and a relocation. Similar initiatives are in place on established project sites. Project HSE plans address environmental aspects and impacts relevant to the work.
We separate recyclables, plastics, and electronic waste. In 2015, in both Argentina and Mexico, we recycled 167 kilograms of plastics and 1,401 kilograms of electronic waste (which included 614 kilograms of print cartridges). Paper recycling has increased throughout Argentina and Mexico since 2013.
Electronics waste recycling presents a large problem on a global level, as well as a business concern from a security perspective. For a number of years, our Information Technology (IT) group has recycled large electronics, such as servers, desktops, and laptops. In 2007, we began an electronics recycling program in North America to capture compact discs, cords, mobile phones, and other small devices that were not included in our corporate computer leasing programs. Collection bins are placed in public areas in our offices, so employees can easily dispose of these smaller electronic waste products.
In 2014, we achieved electronic waste recycling in 100 percent of our North American area offices.
Globally, 86 percent of offices outside of North America recycle electronic components, up from 84 percent in 2014. In 2015, we recycled 31,989 kilograms (70,523 pounds) of electronic waste in North America and 49,752 kilograms (109,685 pounds) around the world.