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Waste minimization is a focus area for Southwire’s customers—in particular, our OEM and utility customers expect the company to continue to aggressively reduce operational waste. At the end of 2017, Southwire successfully reached our ten-year goal of achieving zero landfill from normal operations (excluding waste from construction projects, remediation activities or other waste that requires landfilling, such as asbestos-containing materials). Because Southwire has been actively focused on meeting a zero-landfill goal for a decade, the impact of our operational waste management efforts has lessened; as a result, our recent materiality assessment revealed that Operational Waste is no longer a “Tier 1” topic. However, Southwire will continue to look for opportunities to minimize all types of operational waste at our facilities globally.

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Diverting hazardous and non-hazardous waste from landfills is a foundational element of Southwire’s environmental stewardship commitment, driving us toward more efficient and responsible production and minimizing the impact to our communities and around the globe. Our Growing Green strategy to reduce our environmental footprint, even as we grow, remains as important to our company as it was when we began our journey toward a more sustainable future. Our management approach utilizes goals, governance mechanisms and partnerships.

2021 Sustainability Targets & Goals

Southwire’s environmental practices include proactively managing operational waste. In 2007, we set an aggressive goal to send zero waste to landfill by the end of 2017. To achieve this goal, we actively identified our different waste streams at our manufacturing sites, warehousing facilities, corporate headquarters and central sales offices, segregating valuable recyclable materials and making simple changes where possible.
After achieving a 94 percent reduction from our 2007 waste to landfill baseline, Southwire revised the goal in 2016 to reflect our intention to maintain zero landfill status at existing locations and work to attain zero landfill at new locations and facilities acquired in 2016 and beyond. In our 2017 Sustainability Report, we are pleased to report our progress toward this new goal.


Achieve top decile DJSI (Dow Jones Sustainability Index) performance in operational eco-efficiency in the Electrical Components & Equipment sector
2021 Target Metric 2016 Baseline 2017 Data 2017 Target
Achieve zero operational waste to landfill status at all locations by year-end 2017 and maintain status with growth through 2021 Percent of Facilities with Zero Waste to Landfill Status 74% 100%* 100%
*Does not include sites acquired in 2016 (Sumner and UCI) and 2017 (DCN).


Southwire’s Environmental Policy and Principles demonstrates our continued dedication to minimize waste through prevention efforts to avoid potential negative impact on our community. We internalize the cost of waste management, assigning the full cost to appropriate products. Further, two of our 10 Environmental Principles pertain to the management of waste.


Our facilities and division leaders are responsible for developing new strategies to minimize operational waste, while our environmental team manages all data related to our waste streams. Sites use teams, such as a Growing Green team, a Zero Landfill team, Environmental team or an Operational Perfection at Southwire (OPS) team to actively look for opportunities to reduce waste at their facilities.

In addition, Southwire’s national waste management partner helps us to better assess risks associated with operational waste management and suggests alternate solutions for waste streams. This arrangement helps us operate more efficiently: rather than each facility evaluating waste outlet options and managing the cost of waste, we utilize a central data system. Finally, our partner helps us more accurately track monthly waste generation at our operating facilities. They provide data and progress updates for all our North American sites, as well as weekly feedback on any specific issues that arise.

Materials Minimization

Within our extended value chain, we evaluate packaging entering our facilities and work with suppliers to minimize those materials. By minimizing waste before raw materials arrive on site, the volume of items that need to be recycled or repurposed is reduced.

Among our own products, we reduce packaging and other product-related waste material as well. For example, our SIMpull Solutions® allow our products to be installed without the need for spools, rags or added lubricant, eliminating waste at customer job sites. Additionally, we instituted take-back programs such as a reel return program for wood or steel reels that gives credit for returned material. Read more about our efforts to minimize materials in our products and packaging.

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Waste Type 2016 Total (Tons) 2017 Hazardous 2017 Non-Hazardous 2017 Total (Tons)
Reuse Unavailable* 0 Unavailable* Unavailable*
Recycling 22,849.0 0 21,908.07  21,908.07
Composting 0 0 0 0
Recovery (including energy recovery) 14,252.0 106.67 13,731.07  13,837.73
Incineration (mass burn) 24.1 77.36 0  77.36
Deep well injection 0 0 0 0
Landfill** 1,841.0 1.13 1,009.51  1,010.64
On-site storage 0 0 0 0
Other—Treatment 9,841.9 153.60 9,950.49  10,104.09
Other—Miscellaneous waste streams 594.5 2.13  172.69  174.82
Total 49,403 341  46,772  47,113
*Southwire does not track the amount of operational waste reused.
**Includes waste from soil remediation and construction debris not considered under “operational waste.”
Southwire tracks waste management (recycle, treatment, waste-to-energy, etc.) through documentation on the shipping papers (manifest, bill of lading, etc.). When our waste management partner receives the invoice from the outlet, they document each shipment in a spreadsheet by selecting a management method from a dropdown list. This classification spreadsheet is uploaded to our system monthly.
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In 2017, Southwire focused on advancing the remaining non-zero landfill sites to zero landfill, which we successfully accomplished. In 2018, we will work with sites acquired in 2016 (Sumner and UCI) and 2017 (DCN) to reduce their operational waste and achieve zero landfill in a timely manner.