Earth-Friendly Manufacturing Saved Xerox $2 Billion in 10 Years
Press release from the issuing company
Challenges for the Next Decade Include More Energy Conservation, Removing Barriers to Recycling and Remanufacturing
ROCHESTER, N.Y.--April 18, 2002-- Ten years of "thinking green"at Xerox Corporation have resulted in more than $2 billion of costs saved or avoided and the equivalent of 1.8 million printers and copiers reused or recycled -- demonstrating that it's possible to design environmentally friendly products and manufacturing processes and yet be cost-conscious at the same time. However, in an Earth Day outlook, the company pointed to challenges that lie ahead.
"In 1991 we pledged to be an environmentally responsible corporate citizen, and designing for the environment became fundamental to the way we do business,"said Jack C. Azar, Xerox vice president, Environment, Health & Safety. "Since then our product developmentprocess has started with environmental as well as performance goals - and we've constantly kept innovating to ensure components are designed to be used for more than one product lifetime.
"However, we continue to adjust to new demands and challenges,"he said. "Energy conservation has become even more important, and materials selection more critical. And customer acceptance is vital; there are still places where purchase requirements discourage environmentally sound practices such as remanufacturing."
Xerox calculates that the company, its customers and the communities where it operates have realized significant benefits from Xerox's pursuit of waste-free products from waste-free factories. Remanufacturing printers and copiers is a practice Xerox pioneered, and involves rebuilding and upgrading returned products and parts to as-new appearance and performance. In addition to the $2 billion that the company has saved just by remanufacturing since 1991,
* Xerox has kept 1.2 billion pounds of electronic waste out of landfills by reusing and recycling its products. The equivalent volume could fill the Empire State Building three times. On top of that, Xerox was able to reuse or recycle more than 90 percent of the 7 million cartridges and toner containers returned by customers in 2000 alone - preventing 14 million pounds from reaching landfills.
* Since 1993, Xerox has introduced close to 200 ENERGY STAR-qualified products. In 2000, those products enabled energy savings of more than 800,000 megawatt hours - energy that could be used instead to light more than 650,000 U.S. homes for a year.
* Customers are saving money by using energy-efficient products. For example, a large bank customer reduced annual energy consumption by 34 percent or 1.9 million kilowatt hours using Xerox ENERGY Star-qualified copiers and multifunction products instead of equivalent non-ENERGY STAR products. At $0.10 per kWh, that translates to savings of nearly $200,000 a year in electricity costs.
Energy efficiency and reduction of electronic wastes remain a high priority. From the beginning, Xerox energy-saving product designs have featured "power saver"modes to reduce energy consumption when products are inactive. Since then, the company has made advances in energy-efficient fusing and electronic architectures of its products.
The annual power consumption of a Xerox Document Centre 432DC, for example, is 80 percent less than the Xerox 5034 copier, which was introduced in 1990, with most savings coming as a result of its power saver modes. Continuing research in this area is aimed at achieving even lower energy consumption while satisfying customers' desire for systems that power back up in a matter of seconds.
Xerox has already designed its products to eliminate most hazardous materials of concern. The company has stopped using brominated flame retardants and mercury-containing switches and relays and is phasing out all use of mercury, which is currently found in just a few user displays and scanner lamps. A phase-out schedule is under way for the other material of concern, lead.
Although Xerox's 10-year experience demonstrates that remanufacturing can help electronics producers meet environmental goals without compromising product performance, the industry continues to be challenged by barriers to recycling and remanufacturing.
"Despite a decade of proof, there are still buyers who believe that products with recycled-part content are not as good as those built with all-new parts,"Azar said. "Ironically some of the most inflexible purchasers are state governments -- the very entities that are concerned with landfill issues.
"Market forces will ultimately determine the success of environmentally friendly practices such as reuse, which is the form of recycling that delivers the most environmental value. Smart public purchasing policies and practices will avoid constructing barriers to reuse and instead focus on the quality and performance of the products regardless of recycled content," he concluded.
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