Our Approach to Waste and Effluents
Our diverse business produces many different types of waste. Examples include normal office waste, test samples and used chemicals from our laboratories. Waste streams vary according to which industries are served in each affiliate.
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Waste management is part of the Operational Integrity management system (OIMS). The SGS Waste Management and Minimization Standard describes how we reduce and manage waste in compliance with regulations.
A requirement of this standard is that each SGS facility, using guidance from the Operational Integrity team, must develop and implement a Waste Management Plan that covers the management and disposal of each waste stream, including waste minimization procedures and goals. These set out:
- Roles and responsibilities
- The identified waste streams
- Management practices for waste labeling, storage, inspection and disposal
- Waste minimization and reuse/recycling opportunities
In 2013, two of our regions, Africa and Eastern Europe & the Middle East, were far enough along in their respective OIMS implementations to begin the Waste Management and Minimization process. An example from South Africa is given in our 2013 Sustainability Highlights.
Our “Doing more with Lëss” campaign encourages resource efficiency. We do a lot of printing, not only for office printing but also to print certificates and validation documents for customers. We have begun to reduce the impact of printing by:
- Introducing ‘follow-you’ printing to reduce unwanted printing
- Using cartridge-free printers with solid ink sticks which produce 90% less waste than cartridges and last longer too
- Setting our printers to minimize the amount of colored ink they use
For more information on green printing initiatives as part of “Doing more with Lëss”, please see our 2013 Sustainability Highlights.
We find innovative ways of reusing materials from our offices and laboratories:
- In India, samples of cloth are washed multiple times in laboratories to test durability. These are then donated to local charity Goonj to be made into sanitary items for impoverished women, reducing the health impacts of poor hygiene. For more on this, please see our 2013 Sustainability Highlights
- In South Africa, non-hazardous chemicals from our laboratories are reused by an international speciality chemicals company in their processes
- Samples of feed from our South African agricultural testing laboratory that are still fit for consumption are donated to an animal shelter