Microsoft’s Redmond Campus Achieves ‘Zero Waste’ Status

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – According to the EPA, about 55 percent of the 220 million tons of waste generated each year in the US ends in one of the 3,500 landfills. Municipal solid waste landfills constitute the second-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the country.

Microsoft's Redmond, Wash. campus has 33 cafés, 32 espresso cafés, and more than 500 kitchenettes for its 44,000 employees on campus. The campus annually generates 189 million pounds of waste. But the good news is that 99.5 percent of this waste never makes it to a landfill.

Microsoft has now announced that its Redmond campus has achieved the US Zero Waste Business Council's highest certification. That makes it the first technology company in the country to achieve this benchmark. The Gold Level of Zero Waste Certification recognizes facilities that divert at least 90 percent of food, office, and construction waste away from landfills.

Microsoft accomplishes this goal through employee-driven reuse, recycling, and composting programs as well as sustainable community partnerships. According to the company’s Senior Director Susan Wagner, all food used in the kitchens at the Redmond campus arrives in compostable or recyclable packaging.

To reduce packaging and create less waste, the kitchens cook foods from scratch, make meals to order in most cafés, and grow some of their own greens in hydroponic urban farms on campus. Thousands of gallons of frying oil a week are converted into biodiesel by local recyclers. Condiment packets are compostable, and 100 percent of the tableware is made from plants. All new dining products are tested to verify that they are biodegradable.

Additionally, the employees at the campus use bins to segregate standard trash such as cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles, compostables, office paper, and so on. Specific programs recycle specialty items, such as cardboard, shredded confidential materials, electronics, wooden pallets, carpets, batteries, fluorescent bulbs, and more.

Microsoft is now planning to expand the waste diversion program it uses in Redmond to other facilities around the world.

Source and Image: PC Mag