DuPont's Drive to Zero

DuPont's bins for recycled Corian

In a major push to green its global operations, DuPont Building Innovations, the makers of Corian and Tyvek building materials, eliminated 81 million pounds of manufacturing waste a year-and made trips to the landfill obsolete.

Some companies don't fool around. Back in 2009, DuPont Building Innovations-manufacturer of Corian and Zodiaq solid surfaces and Tyvek building products-decided to alter its eco-footprint in a very big way.

The company announced its Drive to Zero landfill initiative and set as its goal the elimination of all 81 million pounds of waste it sent to landfills each year. No small order, considering that the company's 15 production facilities span the globe from Buffalo, New York, to South Korea to Guangzhou, China.

For the past three years, “we've been on a sustainability mission,” said company president Timothy P. McCann, who notes that collaboration with supply-chain partners was key to tackling the company's zero landfill goal.

As part of the initiative, everything at DuPont Building Innovation's global manufacturing sites-from unusable raw materials and product scraps to construction debris, manufacturing byproducts, and even food waste from the company's cafeterias-has become fair game for reuse or recycling.

Sanding waste from the shaping of Corian and Zodiaq now gets new life as a filler replacement in concrete, while crushed scrap Corian is used in landscaping stones and as a sub-base material for roadways. Once viewed as disposable, shipping pallets are now routinely repaired and reused. And Corian that doesn't meet the company's manufacturing standards gets ground up and incorporated into new sheets of solid surfacing.

DuPont Corian® Terra Collection

Indeed, the company's Corian Terra Collection has also benefited from the zero landfill initiative. Five of the 33 colors in the line (white jasmine, rice paper, raffia, silver birch, and dove) contain at least 20% pre-consumer recycled resin content, a boon for renovators and builders looking to earn LEED points for material and resources with recycled content.

This spring, McDonald's (which uses Corian solid surface materials in its North American fast food franchises) presented DuPont Building Innovations with its first-ever Supplier Sustainability Award.

“When we launched our three-year Drive to Zero landfill initiative, we knew that being environmentally responsible was the right thing to do for DuPont and something our customers would value,” said McCann. “This award is evidence that one of our most important customers does, indeed, appreciate our work to become a more earth-friendly business. I'm proud of the fact that through our efforts to completely eliminate landfill-not just reduce it-DuPont Building Innovations has created a new standard for our industry.”

For more on sustainability and green building, consider:

Learning to Love Recycling
7 DIY Small-Space Recycling Centers
The Meaning Behind “Green”: Guide to Certification Labels