2021
Aug.

58

SUSTAINABILITY

Delta realizes Zero-Waste production
Build up a circular economy value chain

Text by: Sustainability Development Office

Circular economy is a popular keyword in today's society. Namely, it refers to economic benefits created from continuous resource cycling, and the volume and processing of waste have thus become key indicators. As an industry leader in sustainability, Delta has set a goal to reduce waste intensity by 15% in 2020 and immediately began proactive actions including source reduction, enhancing resource cycling rate, and promoting closed-loop recycling. By integrating and linking suppliers throughout the value chain, Delta has successfully driven its global value chain to jointly practice waste reduction and circular economy.

UL 2799 Zero Waste to Landfill certification is an important indicator in circular economy; the scope of this standard encompasses all waste flow throughout the plant. A company may only be certified by undertaking compliance management, inspection, and audit to confirm that overall resource conversion rate has reached 90% or above upon waste conversion processes including waste reduction, reuse, and energy consumption. The level of the certification is classified as Silver grade for 90-94% conversion rate, Gold for 95-99%, and Platinum for 100% conversion rate. With the collective effort from all employees, Delta's Dongguan and Wujiang plants have achieved UL 2799 Zero Waste to Landfill Platinum certification in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Dongguan plant took the lead to achieve 100% waste conversion to realize Zero Waste
Delta's Dongguan plant mostly produces power supplies, switches, routers, and fans. It is a production facility that highly represents Delta's core philosophies. In 2020, Delta's Dongguan plant has obtained the UL 2799 Zero Waste to Landfill Platinum certification as it has achieved a "100% waste conversion rate including 8% incineration heat recovery." In this year, Dongguan plant further reduced its incineration heat recovery to 4%.

Such spectacular results cannot be achieved overnight; and initially, Dongguan plant had only set its sight on obtaining the Silver certification. The plant first began to plan preliminary tasks including process analyses and taking inventories of all waste flow in 2018, and after continuous efforts and overcoming various bumps along the way, the plant has finally achieved the Platinum certification, an honor that far exceeded their expectations.

This is achieved by the collective hard work from many staff across various departments. From procurement, production process to R&D, Delta's employees scrutinized over every detail including packaging design and shipping material to find all possible chances for material improvement or reuse. For instance, employees from material procurement intensely negotiated with suppliers to request for more durable plastic frames, so that they could be brought back and reused by the suppliers after material has been delivered to the plant. Additionally, the production processing staff swapped plastic trolleys with stainless steel ones in transporting raw materials in the production line to extend their useful lives.

The plant recycled and delivered waste cardboard boxes to packaging suppliers, which were used as product packaging, thereby achieving closed-loop recycling for cardboard boxes.

In terms of reuse, the staff also actively synchronized with Delta's value chain including local suppliers, recycling companies, and raw material suppliers. For instance, scraps were recycled and remade into metal raw materials to achieve "urban mining" to minimize carbon footprint. Moreover, Dongguan plant also delivered waste cardboard boxes to suppliers, which were then used as product packaging, thus achieving closed-loop recycling for cardboard boxes.

The 100% resource cycling achieved by Dongguan plant ultimately contained the following components: waste reused 33,423 tons (72.5%), waste reduced by 154 tons (0.3%), recycled 10,569 tons (22.9%), and incineration heat recovered by 1,951 tons (4.2%).

Delta encourages waste reduction throughout global operations and value chain to achieve circular economy benefits in supply chain
Delta's waste reduction programs were launched across all plants under the Waste Reduction Management Committee. After implementing the UL 2799 Zero Waste to Landfill certification system in 2019, Dongguan plant has shared its waste conversion rate calculations and practices to all Delta operations across the globe. After learning from Dongguan plant's experiences, Wujiang plant has achieved the astonishing 100% waste conversion rate (including 7% incineration heat recovery) performance in 2021, as well as the UL 2799 Platinum certification.

After learning from Dongguan plant's experiences, Wujiang plant has achieved the astonishing 100% waste conversion rate (including 7% incineration heat recovery) performance in 2021, as well as the UL 2799 Platinum certification.

Nevertheless, Delta's waste reduction actions are not only limited to China, but rather, plants in Thailand and Taiwan have also actively prepared for the zero waste targets in order to achieve Delta's ambitious global 100% conversion rate objective by 2025.

Delta's plants collaborates with and shares waste conversion benefits with upstream suppliers. Image shows recycling and reusing waste pallets from the plants.

Furthermore, Delta has also shared its waste reduction practices to its global value chain. By 2020, it has cumulatively introduced 298 waste reduction projects, and has reduced approximately 80% or more of waste in 2020 alone by carrying out projects such as replacing cardboard boxes with plastic boxes, implementing closed-loop recycling, and reusing metal scraps. Concurrently, Delta has also collaborated with suppliers to improve delivery methods by recycling and reusing packaging materials such as EPE, papers, and pallets. Cumulatively, 9,510 tons of packaging raw materials were conserved in 2020, leading to approximately US$3.65 million in saved costs and creating circular economy benefits in the supply chain.

Zero waste is a major step toward circular economy and facilitates efforts for carbon neutral goals
As a sustainable citizen of the world, Delta spares no effort in waste reduction, emissions reduction, and circular economy whether from operational innovation to practicing sustainable actions in its plants. With the tireless effort from numerous employees, Delta's circular economy efforts have effectively reduced costs, material wastage, as well as lowered its external environmental costs in practice.

Going forward, Delta will rigorously implement various waste reduction and resource cycling projects, and will work toward the long-term sustainable goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 through adhering to its business mission, "Smarter.  Greener. Together".