General Introduction

Waste is any material or substance that is discarded from a factory site, which can pollute and contaminate the environment and surrounding communities.

Example of waste can include, but not limited to:

  • Non-hazardous waste is discarded materials from the consumption of goods and services and the manufacture of goods. Non-hazardous waste usually includes non-hazardous production waste and domestic waste. Non-hazardous production waste is generated from manufacturing process directly, e.g., cloth, leather, plastic, paper, metal or packaging waste. Domestic waste includes food waste and sanitary waste. Food waste is typically generated from facility canteens and kitchens. Sanitary waste is the household waste from office and dormitory areas, e.g., toilet paper, yard/garden waste, glass, and food packaging.
  • Hazardous waste is waste that could cause harm to public health and/or the environment because of its chemical, physical, or biological characteristics (e.g., it is flammable, explosive, toxic, radioactive, or infectious). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines hazardous waste as “waste that is dangerous or potentially harmful to our health or the environment. Hazardous wastes can be liquids, solids, or gases, or sludge. The requirements for managing hazardous waste are stricter than for non‐hazardous waste.” (http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/)

However, the classification into hazardous and non-hazardous waste may differ from one country legislation to another, defining which types of waste are categorized as hazardous differently. A facility should at minimum follow the legal waste requirements. If legal requirements are not available, it is recommended to select more stringent industry guidelines.

New Guidance for Hardgoods facilities:

For all companies manufacturing or distributing in or to the European Union, the WEEE (Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive is an important directive to follow.  The WEEE directive governs the reduction and separation of electronic waste.

The Higg Index Waste section requires you to:

  • Understand and track all hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams
  • Record and Report the volume generated and disposal method for all hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams
  • Segregate, properly store, and train workers to handle all hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams
  • Forbid open burning and dumping of waste on-site and properly control any onsite incineration
  • Set normalized baselines for waste generated (e.g., generated 20 Kgs of domestic waste per production unit in 2016) and percentage of waste to disposal methods (e.g., landfilled 80% of domestic waste in 2016)
  • Set normalized targets for waste reductions and improvements to preferred disposal methods
  • Set an action plan with specific actions and strategies to achieve waste reduction targets
  • Demonstrate waste reductions against the baseline such as “Last year we generated 16 Kgs of domestic waste per unit of production which is a 20% annual reduction since 2016.”
  • Leading practice: Divert at least 90 percent of all discarded materials from landfills, incinerators without energy recovery, and the environment
  • Leading practice: Upcycle waste by transforming waste materials into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

Waste performance can be improved in two ways:

  1. By reducing the total amount of waste generated for your facility. This is the most preferred method because it will reduce waste amount from the original source.
  2. By switching to preferred methods of disposal such as recycling, reuse, recycling, or appropriately controlled incineration with energy recovery.

Tracking and Reporting Waste Data in Higg FEM

Accurately tracking and reporting waste data overtime provides facilities and stakeholders with detailed insight into opportunities for improvement. If data is not accurate, this limits the ability to understand a facility’s wastes and identify the specific actions that will help reduce environmental impacts and drive efficiencies.

When establishing a waste tracking and reporting program, the following principles should be applied:

  • Completeness – The tracking and reporting program should include all relevant sources (as listed in the FEM). Sources should not be excluded from data tracking and reporting should be based on materiality (e.g. small quantity exceptions).
  • Accuracy – Ensure that the data input into the waste tracking program is accurate and is derived from credible sources (e.g. calibrated scales, invoices, established scientific measurement principles or engineering estimates, etc.)
  • Consistency – Use consistent methodologies to track waste data that allows for comparisons of waste quantities over time. If there are any changes in the tracking methods, waste sources, or other operations that impact waste data, this should be documented.
  • Transparency – All data sources (e.g., invoices, weighing records, etc.), assumptions used (e.g., estimation techniques), and calculation methodologies should be disclosed in data inventories and be readily verifiable via documented records and supporting evidence.
  • Data Quality Management – Quality assurance activities (internal or external data quality checks) should be defined and performed on waste data as well as the processes used to collect and track data to ensure reported data is accurate.

The above principles are adapted from The Greenhouse Gas Protocol – Chapter 1: GHG Accounting and Reporting Principles.

Waste – Level 1

Questions
  • Materials
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Paper
  • Cans
  • Food
  • Glass
  • Cartons
  • Wastewater Treatment Sludge (Non-Hazardous)
  • Other (please specify)
  • All domestic waste combined

Suggested Upload: Waste Manifest

Do you track your non-hazardous waste streams?

Includes non-hazardous production waste and domestic waste.

You will receive Full Points if you are completely tracking all waste streams that your facility generates, the quantity of each waste stream and the disposal method of each waste stream.

You will receive Partial Points if you are completely tracking at least one of your waste streams, but are not yet tracking all of your sources or the disposal method of each waste stream.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is to build awareness of all non-hazardous waste types (both production and domestic waste) at your facility and to start tracking the volume each waste type generates. You must know your sources of waste before you can make strategic decisions on how to reduce and divert waste. It’s important to understand your current waste management practices and to prioritize improvements for the waste sources that you produce the most. By doing this you can find more effective alternatives to reduce and divert waste.

Technical Guidance:

Developing a waste inventory is considered the first step in waste management. When establishing your waste tracking and reporting program, start by doing the following, which applies to non-hazardous wastes covered in this question and hazardous waste tracking covered in Question 2:

  • Map out business and operational processes to identify where waste is being generated and all the types of wastes that are generated.
  • Establish procedures to collect and track waste data:
    • Use on-site scales, waste invoices/manifests, receipts for waste materials that are sold, etc. to determine the amount of waste generated.
    • If estimation techniques are used, the calculation methodology should be clearly defined and be supported by verifiable data (see examples below)
  • Record tracking data (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly waste quantities) in a format that is easy to review [e.g. spreadsheet (e.g. Microsoft Excel) or similar data analytics program that allows export of data in a human readable format (e.g. Excel, csv)] and maintain relevant supporting evidence for review during verification.

Reporting Waste data in the Higg FEM:

Before reporting waste data in the FEM, data quality checks should be performed to ensure that the data AND the processes used to collect and record the data are effective at producing accurate data.

Do:

  • Review source data (e.g. weighing records, invoices/manifests, etc) against aggregated totals to ensure it is accurate.
  • Compare the current year with historical data. Any significant changes (e.g. an increase or decrease of over 10%) should be attributable to known changes. If not, further investigation may be warranted.
  • Ensure the most recent and updated versions of data tracking spreadsheets are being used and that all automated calculations/formulas are correct.
  • Ensure the proper units are reported and verify any unit conversions from source data to reported data.
  • Review any assumption or estimation methodology/calculations to ensure accuracy
  • Verify the how the specific waste is disposed and report the disposal method (e.g. landfill, recycle, incineration)
  • Ensure waste vendors have the appropriate licensed to handle each specific waste type.
  • Add notes in the “Describe your waste management and disposal processes for this source” field to describe how the waste is managed and any data assumptions, estimation methodology, or other relevant comments on the data for a particular source.

Do Not:

  • Report data that is not accurate (e.g. the data source is unknown or has not been verified).
  • Report estimated data if it is not supported by verifiable and reasonable accurate estimation methodology and data (e.g. engineering calculations).

The following terminology will help you understand how to complete this question:

  • All waste streams mean all the waste produced on-site including waste generated from manufacturing product, office use, waste produced by workers at the canteen, dormitory, shops, and waste produced by contractors coming on-site to perform a service.
  • Final disposal means the final step to manage or remove your waste. If a contractor is collecting your waste and selling it to another company, the final disposal will be the last company to handle your waste by recycling, incinerating, treating (physical or chemical treatment), or landfilling your waste. This can be controlled in the factory by checking the waste collection area or waste contractor’s site and confirming that sorting is well-managed
  • Non-hazardous waste: please refer to the definition listed in the waste introduction section at the top of this section.
  • Hazardous waste: please refer to the definition mentioned in the waste introduction section at the top of this section. To identify the hazardous waste, you can check its characteristic, environmental impact, usage, corrosivity, ignitability and reactivity, if it doesn’t belong to hazardous waste, it will be non-hazardous waste.
  • Reuse: Materials that are used in a function or application as a substitute for a new commercial material. Typically, this material is designed to be reused multiple times for the same purpose. This could also include checking, cleaning or repairing materials/components, so that they can be re-used without any other preprocessing whether for the original or other purposes. For example:
    • Chemical supplier can reuse the chemical container for filling them up with the same chemical (external reuse).
    • Fabric leftover can be reused in another factory (external reuse).
    • Rechargeable batteries can be reused many times (internal reuse). Wood pallet or cardboard can be reused for holding materials within the factory (internal reuse).
  • Recycle: Materials that are reprocessed from recovered material and made into a final product or into a component of a product. It does not include energy recovery and the reprocessing into materials that are to be used as fuels or for backfilling operation.

Differences between recycled material and reused material:

  • Recycled material undergoes processing, or change in physical form, to be made into another component or product.
  • Reused material is used in its current form, multiple times, typically for the same purpose. For example:
    • Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products, sometimes completely different in form from their original state. For instance, this could mean melting down soft drink bottles and then casting them as plastic chairs and tables.
    • Plastic used for playground surfaces or traffic cones
    • Fabric scraps being reprocessed for padding/stuffing used for furniture, mattresses, blankets, toys
  • Incinerated with energy recovery: The process of generating energy in the form of electricity or heat from the incineration of waste. Thermal technologies include incineration, gas plasma, pyrolysis or any other process in excess of 150 °C (please refer to UL2799 standard: https://standardscatalog.ul.com/standards/en/standard_2799_3). This operation is only accepted by an approved and permitted incineration plant by the local government or by a permitted incineration plant.
  • Biological treatment: usually used for food waste disposal. The common treatments are Anaerobic digestion, biofuel and composting. Anaerobic digestion is a biological process where bacteria decompose organic matter in the absence of oxygen. The bacteria produce biogas that can be used to generate energy. The effluent remaining after controlled anaerobic decomposition is low in odor and rich in nutrients. Biofuel is derived from biological materials and can be used as an alternative fuel or as an additive to reduce vehicle emissions. Composting is the biological process of breaking organic waste into a useful substance by various microorganisms in the presence of oxygen. Composting also includes converting organic waste into industrial and manufactured products such as fertilizer, tallow and industrial chemicals.
  • Incineration: materials that are collected and managed through an incineration process that meets local and international standards.
  • Landfill: materials that are collected and managed through a landfilling process that meets local and international standards.
  • Upcycle: Upcycling is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless and/or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. Recycling used garments and fabrics to manufacture new clothing, making fabric from used plastic bottles, and processing coal ash from the boiler room to make bricks are some examples of upcycling. A facility can engage its material suppliers, buyers and waste management contractors to find creative solutions to upcycle wastes
  • Mandated waste material should not be included in the non-hazardous waste stream, as these types of waste are not generated from a “business as usual” situation, such as:
    • Medical waste
    • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
    • Lead Paint
    • Asbestos
    • Other waste mandated by local regulation
    • Major construction and demolition projects waste (C & D waste)
    • Waste from nature disaster such as flood, fire, tornado, hurricane.

Accepted estimation for non-hazardous waste quantity calculation: In some cases, calculating waste quantity requires estimation. Estimation requires a documented methodology that includes:

  • Calculations and methodology
  • Date used you calculate the estimate
  • Frequency of updates to calculations and methodology

Example: Your facility generates waste in barrels which are sealed when full and sent weekly for disposal. Weighing every barrel may not be possible. Therefore, the average weight of a full barrel can be determined by weighing a representative sample of barrels and then multiplying this average weight by the number of barrels disposed each week or month as shown below:

  • Average weight of a barrel = 25kg (based on representative weights of barrels from different days, months, production scenarios, etc.)
  • Number of barrels disposed of in 1 month = 65
  • Total waste for this source in 1 month = 1,625kg (25kg x 65 barrels)

Note: The above method can be used for any waste type (e.g. production or domestic waste). The estimation methodology and calculations should be documented and applied consistency for each waste type. 

Method For food waste or sanitary waste:

Weigh a random bucket or bag 3 times a month and calculate the average weight per bucket or bag. Then accumulate the total weight based on the number of buckets or bags at the end of each month. Please note that the waste volume for each bucket or bag should be representative of the typical amount of waste generated.

Note: If an estimation technique is used, this should be fully documented, applied consistently and based on reasonable estimation factors that are derived from relevant data (e.g. actual weights of a representative sample of the waste).

How This Will Be Verified:

When verifying a facility’s waste data, Verifiers must review all aspects of the facility’s waste tracking program that could produce inaccuracies including:

  • The initial data collection processes and data sources (e.g., weighing records, manifest/invoices/receipts, etc.); and
  • The process and tools used to aggregate the data (e.g. spreadsheet calculations, unit conversions, etc.)

If any inconsistencies or errors are noted, the reported information must be corrected where possible and detailed comments should be included in the Verification Data field.

Full Points

  • Documentation Required:
    • List of ALL non-hazardous waste produced by the facility
      • Production Waste
      • Packaging waste
      • Domestic Waste
    • Records for tracking both the quantity and type of disposal (including disposal destination) of ALL non-hazardous waste (e.g. invoices from waste contractors, weighing records compiled in a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel) is ok as long as supporting evidence is available for review as well). Records must match the reported answers to all questions answered.
    • Method of tracking the quantity and measurement method for ALL non-hazardous waste
    • Scale calibration records where applicable (e.g. as per manufacturer’s specifications)
    • Estimation methodology documented where applicable
    • All non-hazardous waste sources at the facility are tracked in full. This means that all sources listed in the Level 1 table have complete answers in all columns that are accurate
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Management can describe the major sources of non-hazardous waste and describe their fate (where they are disposed of)
    • Key Employees are aware of:
      • The procedures in place for tracking non-hazardous waste, including tracking the waste collection process, quantity measurement and type of disposal
      • The waste data tracking program and how data quality is maintained
    • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
      • Sources of non-hazardous waste production
      • Equipment for waste quantity measurement
      • Collection sites for waste disposal
      • Waste handling contractors site for waste disposal

Partial Points

  • Same requirements as for “yes” above for at least one non-hazardous waste source at the facility. This must be tracked in full. This means that at least one (but not all) of the sources listed in the Level 1 table have complete answers in all columns and there is evidence to support all of the answers.

Production Waste:

  • Empty chemical drums and containers
  • Film and Printing Frame
  • Wastewater treatment sludge (Hazardous)
  • Expired / unused / used chemicals (waste oil, solvents, reactants, etc.…)
  • Compressed Gas Cylinders (refrigerants, etc.)
  • Contaminated materials (please specify)
  • Other (please specify)
  • New Guidance for Hardgoods facilities: enter (e.g. Metal sludge, Waste oil and grease (from operations and manufacturing), Disposal of coolant, etc.)

Domestic Waste:

  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent light bulb
  • Ink cartridges
  • Waste oil and grease (from cooking)
  • Empty containers (cleaning, sanitizing, pesticides, etc…)
  • Electronic Waste
  • Coal combustion residuals (fly ash and bottom ash/coal slag)
  • Wastewater treatment sludge (household)
  • Other (please specify)

Suggested Upload: Hazardous waste manifests and/or copies of permits for handling hazardous waste

Do you track your hazardous waste streams?

You will receive Full Points if you are completely tracking all hazardous waste sources AND are disposing of hazardous wastes through a licensed and permitted hazardous waste contractor. Please refer to the guidance below for information on reporting on drums or barrels.

You will receive Partial Points if you are completely tracking at least one of your hazardous waste sources, but are not yet tracking all of your sources.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is to build awareness of all hazardous waste types produced onsite and to track the volume of each waste type generated and the method of disposal. You must know your sources of waste before you can make strategic decisions on how to reduce, divert or improve waste management.

Technical Guidance:

Because of its hazardous characteristics, all hazardous waste must be well tracked and controlled to meet the local laws & regulations. To identify your hazardous waste, each country has its own National Hazardous Waste Inventory and National Hazardous Waste Identification Standard. Please refer to these standards and inventory.

Note: The data tracking and reporting principles and guidance provided in the Technical Guidance of Question 1 for non-hazardous wastes should be applied to hazardous waste tracking and reporting.

Hazardous waste poses a greater risk to the environment and human health than non-hazardous waste, and thus requires a stricter management process. You must know your sources of waste before you can make strategic decisions on how to reduce, divert or improve waste management. It’s important to prioritize improvements for the waste sources that you produce the most of.

It is important to also specify how each waste stream is being disposed of in order to meet the local laws and regulations regarding hazardous waste and identify opportunities to improve the disposal methods (e.g., reduce, recycle and incinerate with energy recovery).

It is advisable for your factory to regularly check that hazardous wastes are being properly handled and are treated/ disposed of at the approved intended facility.

An example of contaminated materials can be a piece of cotton or nylon used to clean machines. The fabric is contaminated by hydraulic oil or lubricant oil or ink or chemicals and may be classified as hazardous waste.

Note: The classification into hazardous and non-hazardous waste may differ from one country legislation to another that may define which ‘waste’ are categorized as hazardous differently. The facility should follow the legal waste requirements. If legal requirements are not available, select more stringent industry guidelines.

Note on Drums / Barrels: If you have disposed of empty drums, please enter the total weight of all drums in kilograms or metric tons. For example, if you disposed of 25 empty steel drums that weighed 20 kilograms each, please choose “Empty containers” and enter 500 kilograms (25 drums x 20 kgs = 500 kgs total).

If you have disposed of full drums that contain liquid waste, please enter the volume of the drum (cubic feet, cubic yard, gallons, meters) or the total weight (kg or metric tons).

How This Will Be Verified:

When verifying a facility’s waste data, Verifiers must review all aspects of the facility’s waste tracking program that could produce inaccuracies including:

  • The initial data collection processes and data sources (e.g., weighing records, manifest/invoices/receipts, etc.); and
  • The process and tools used to aggregate the data (e.g. spreadsheet calculations, unit conversions, etc.)

If any inconsistencies or errors are noted, the reported information must be corrected where possible and detailed comments should be included in the Verification Data field.

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • List of ALL hazardous waste produced by the facility
      • Production Waste
      • Packaging waste (e.g. chemical drums and containers)
      • Domestic Waste
    • Records for tracking both the quantity and type of disposal (including disposal destination) of ALL hazardous waste (e.g. invoices from waste contractors, weighing records compiled in a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel) is ok as long as supporting evidence is available for review as well). Records must match the reported answers to all questions answered.
    • Method of tracking the quantity and measurement method for ALL hazardous waste.
    • Permits for hazardous waste handling (if applicable)
    • Scale calibration records where applicable (e.g. as per manufacturer’s specifications).
    • Estimation methodology documented where applicable
    • All hazardous waste sources at the facility are tracked in full. This means that all sources listed in the Level 1 table have complete answers in all columns that are accurate
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Management can describe the major sources of hazardous waste and describe their fate (where they are disposed of).
    • Key Employees are aware of:
      • The procedures in place for tracking hazardous waste include tracking the waste collection process, quantity measurement, and type of disposal.
      • The waste data tracking program and how data quality is maintained.
    • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
      • Sources of hazardous waste production
      • Equipment for waste quantity measurement
      • Collection sites for waste disposal
      • Waste handling contractor’s site used for waste disposal

Suggested Upload: Photos of segregated storage sites

Answer Yes if you segregate hazardous and non-hazardous waste for appropriate management.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is for your facility to segregate hazardous and non-hazardous waste for appropriate management.

This question is important because your facility needs to manage and dispose of hazardous and non-hazardous waste differently. Segregating hazardous and non-hazardous waste can prevent unwanted reactions between the waste streams, reduce pollution and harm to environment and people, help reduce cost (mixing waste can increase the volume of waste classified as hazardous which is more expensive to dispose of), and prevent unwanted exposure for personnel (source: GSCP).

Technical Guidance:

The first step is to make sure that legal requirements in relation to waste generation, collection and segregation, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal are met. There should be procedures for the management (including collection, segregation, storage and transportation) of hazardous and non-hazardous waste. The facility should provide sufficient working instruction or standard operating procedures and signs for handling and segregating non-hazardous waste. This can be a training, awareness campaigns, posters, working instructions, signs directing where to put which waste, etc. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be provided to employees when handling waste. Instruction should be provided to:

  • Personnel responsible of handling and segregating non-hazardous waste
  • To anyone that can produce non-hazardous waste and has to collect and segregate in the right garbage bin (e.g., all workers at the canteen, production floor, dorm, etc.)

How This Will Be Verified:

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Documentation for the working instructions or operating procedures of collecting generated waste, segregating waste streams (hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste), storing and transporting hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste.
    • Training materials and record for waste management and handling training
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Key Employees discussion:
      • Key Employees are trained to collect, segregate and store wastes
    • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Location of segregated waste area as collection points around the factory and clear instruction or signs at the collection point to physically segregate both hazardous and non-hazardous waste
    • On-site evidence to support an established procedure for separating waste, e.g., the related standard procedures are posted in the workshops.
    • Collection sites for waste disposal — are they clearly segregated, marked, and controlled as required by the danger imposed by the contents?

Suggested Upload: Photos of segregated storage sites

Hazardous waste storage area requirements:

  • The hazardous waste storage area is ventilated, dry and protected from the weather and fire risk.
  • The hazardous waste storage area is protected from unauthorized employees (i.e. locked).
  • Eating, smoking and drinking are not permitted in these areas.
  • The hazardous waste storage area is clearly marked.
  • Where liquid wastes are stored, the floor is solid and non-porous, containers have lids, there are no water drains that the liquid could spill into, and there is no evidence of spilled liquid.
  • Flammable substances are kept away from sources of heat or ignition, including the use of grounding and explosion-proof lighting.
  • Incompatible waste must be segregated.
  • Spill response equipment including necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) must be located near storage areas including accessible emergency eyewash and/or shower stations.

Employees must use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when in these areas.

Hazardous waste storage container requirements:

  • Storage containers are in good condition, appropriate for their contents, closed and clearly labeled with their contents.
  • Containers must have lids
  • Containers must be secured to prevent falling and safely stacked

Adequate aisle space must be maintained between containers

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is to ensure proper storage of hazardous waste containers in all parts of your facility.

Hazardous waste poses a greater risk to the environment and human health than non-hazardous waste, and thus require stricter management process. It’s important to segregate hazardous waste and secure storage areas and containers to eliminate risk to workers and the environment.

Technical Guidance:

The facility should have a dedicated location for the hazardous waste storage. The storage area should have the following features:

  • The location should be further from people, fire source and high traffic flow area.
  • Store corrosives, flammables and explosives in dry, cool areas, out of direct sunlight and away from steam pipes, boilers or other sources of heat. Follow the chemical manufacturer’s or supplier’s recommendations for storage temperature.
  • Proper roofing and flooring to prevent rainwater from seeping through waste and to prevent any leakage to infiltrate to the ground and ground-water.
  • Spill containment available and workers trained to use it in case of leakage.
  • Firefighting equipment if oxidizers, explosives, flammable or gasses under pressure wastes are stored in the area.
  • Sufficient ventilation. Well-designed and well-maintained ventilation systems remove corrosive, flammable and toxic vapors, fumes, mists or airborne dusts from the workplace and reduce their hazards. Some places may need a complete system of hoods and ducts to provide acceptable ventilation. Others may require a single, well-placed exhaust fan. Use corrosion-resistant construction in ventilation systems for corrosive materials. No special ventilation system may be needed when working with small amounts of corrosives which do not give off airborne contaminants.
  • Locked and secured at all times. Only authorized people are allowed to enter.
  • Provide appropriate warning signage at the entrance.
  • Display the personal protective equipment (PPE) list that is needed for entering the area.
  • Provide the PPE needed for entering the area.
  • Display the simplified Safety Data Sheet.
  • Segregate according to the chemical compatibility matrix.
  • Wrong segregation may lead to incompatible wastes reacting together to create fires, explosions or to release toxic gas.
  • Hazardous waste is stored in containers compatible to their contents, such as discarded chemicals. The choice of materials such as steel, aluminium, fiber, plastic, etc.… need to be linked to the product it will contain. Make sure the waste is not going to react with the container itself. Some waste is highly corrosive, which may cause a reaction with a metal container, possibly causing the container to fail. Plastic or plastic-lined containers are good solutions for corrosive wastes. Steel containers are a good choice for non-corrosive and flammable liquids.
  • Waste containers should be closed or made secure when not in use; open-topped skips should be covered securely.
  • All containers and receptacles should be clearly labelled with their contents and hazard characteristics.
  • Waste containers are in good condition.
  • Good housekeeping to be maintained for preventing the area from becoming breeding ground for rodents and insects.
  • Regular inspections of on-site waste storage areas should be undertaken at a frequency in proportion to the risk and maintain the above requirement at all time.
  • The status of all hazardous waste in the storage area must be well recorded with the name of each hazardous waste, source, quantity, characteristic, waste container type, waste-in date, storage location, waste-out date, and waste received department.

How This Will Be Verified:

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Procedures for ensuring hazardous waste storage and status in the storage area records are always kept compliant with the above technical guidance.
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Management understands the dangers of hazardous waste and the importance of preventing contamination
    • Key employees are trained on how to prevent contamination in hazardous storage area
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Wastes are being stored in a specific location and all the above requirements are fulfilled. (refer to Technical Guidance)

Suggested Upload: Photos of segregated storage sites

Non-Hazardous waste storage area requirements:

  • The non-hazardous waste storage area is ventilated, dry and protected from the weather and fire risk, and must be stored on impervious surfaces.
  • The non-hazardous waste storage area is clearly marked.
  • Flammable substances are kept away from sources of heat or ignition, including the use of grounding and explosion-proof lighting.

Employees must use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when in these areas.

Non-Hazardous waste storage container requirements:

  • Storage containers are in good condition, appropriate for their contents, closed and clearly labeled with their contents.

Containers must be secured to prevent falling and safely stacked.

What is the intent of the question?

This intent is to ensure proper storage of non-hazardous waste in all parts of your facility.

Non-hazardous wastes can pose contamination risks (e.g., pollution, waste being dispersed by the wind, food waste leachate) and risks to workers (e.g., fire, sharp objects).

Waste shouldn’t be kept too long and in too much quantity as leachate can happen (especially for food waste or coating on metals or other type of materials that contain hazardous substances). Any site where waste is concentrated and stored even for a short period of time may be a potential point source of ground and groundwater contamination.

Technical Guidance:

A storage area should be available to contain the sorted waste while waiting for the contractor to collect for disposal. General requirement of a non-hazardous waste storage area should include:

  • Location: Further from people, fire source.
  • Proper roofing and flooring and walls: Prevent rainwater from seeping through waste and generate leachate to the ground and ground-water. Protect the floor with impervious (meaning that the material used to cover the floor will not allow any liquid to infiltrate / get through) surfaces to avoid any contamination of the ground from waste leachate or coating substances on non-hazardous waste (printing materials, paintings, etc.…) and avoid spreading
  • Housekeeping: Good housekeeping to be maintained for preventing the area from becoming breeding ground for rodents and insects.
  • Firefighting equipment if flammable wastes are stored in the area (e.g., paper, cardboard, etc.…)
  • Provide appropriate warning signage at the entrance and inside the storage area such as “no smoking” signs, “no food”, name and location of where to store the different types of recyclables. All signs should be in a visible location and in a language(s) that can be understood by workers handling waste.
  • Display and provide the PPE list that is needed for entering the area if any risks (gloves for sharp waste, mask for dusty waste…).
  • Regular inspections of on-site waste storage areas should be undertaken by the waste engineer at a frequency in proportion to the risk and inspections record should be kept.
  • The status of non-hazardous waste in the storage area must be well recorded with the name of each non-hazardous waste, source, quantity, waste-in date, storage location, waste-out date, and waste received department.

Leachate is the liquid (e.g., rain) that drains or ‘leaches’ (e.g., water contained in food waste) from waste when water percolates through any waste. It varies widely in composition regarding the age of the waste and the type of waste. It usually contains both dissolved and suspended material.

How This Will Be Verified:

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Procedures for ensuring non-hazardous waste storage does not become contaminated.
    • Records for the non-hazardous waste status in the storage area.
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Management understands the dangers of non-hazardous waste and the importance of preventing contamination
    • Key employees are trained on how to prevent contamination in non-hazardous storage area
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Wastes are being stored in a specific location and all the above requirements are fulfilled. (refer to Technical Guidance)

Open burning is forbidden

  • If open burning is not forbidden, please describe the technology used and how you control air emissions

Open dumping is forbidden

If open dumping is not forbidden, please describe the technology used and how you control pollution

Burying of wastes and Storage tank leaks is forbidden

  • If burying of wastes and storage tank leaks is not forbidden, please indicate how you have dispose of waste onsite

What is the intent of the question?

Irresponsible waste disposal actions including on-site open burning, landfilling, burying of waste and storage tank leaks can cause contamination in the soil and groundwater, air pollution from smoke emissions and gas generation, and health hazards (GSCP). The intent is to drive you to eliminate all irresponsible waste disposal actions.

How does this question help a facility drive improvement?

Any unauthorized burning and dumping of waste as well as burying wastes and storage tank leaks in the premise of your factory site should be forbidden as relevant environment hazards, such as air emissions, wastewater discharge will not be controlled, collected and treated. All waste gasses should be released through a chimney, stack, or vent so emissions can be controlled and a filter can be applied to capture pollution in some cases.

Technical Guidance:

Burning and dumping waste on facility premises (inside or outside) with no air emissions control equipment and without special authorization from your environmental legal agency should be forbidden. If you do incinerate on-site, please explain the technology, the approval process, and how you control air emissions in the comment field provided. Any uncontrolled waste landfilling (i.e. landfilling without the appropriate license/ permit) should be forbidden. All your hazardous waste should be passed on to a licensed and permitted handler (Certified legal contractor) and solid waste should be managed by a qualified third-party vendor that will treat the waste minimizing and controlling all health and environmental impact. Final disposal and treatment shouldn’t be handled on-site (in the factory premise) by the factory employees.

How This Will Be Verified:

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Policy for forbidding irresponsible waste disposal actions
    • Policy on how waste will be handled and disposed of
    • Contract of waste handling contractor
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Management and Key employees are made aware of any irresponsible waste disposal actions
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Uncontrolled burying, burning or uncontrolled landfilling activities on-site
    • Leaks of waste storage tank

If yes, please select all topics included in your training:

  • Proper handling
  • Storage and disposal techniques and procedures
  • Specific operational procedures for waste minimization
  • Use of personal protective equipment
  • Other, please specify

How many employees were trained?

How frequently do you train your employees?

Suggested Upload: List of trained individuals, training materials (including calendar), certifications

You will be awarded Full Points if all topics were included in your training.

If some, but not all, topics were included you will be awarded Partial Points

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is for you to educate all necessary workers on appropriate waste handling procedures.

Technical Guidance:

Factory is advised to include the following important elements in the training:

  • Proper handling
  • An overview of legal requirements and the environmental consequences of poor waste handling and management.
  • How to identify, segregate, collect and transport hazardous waste
  • How to track and weigh the quantity of hazardous waste
  • Awareness on hazardous waste accident prevention policy, emergency preparedness and response procedure management
  • Storage and disposal techniques and procedures
  • An overview of positive environmental benefits of waste segregation including quality control and ensuring highest value recycling options.
  • Personal protective equipment distribution and usage management.
  • Introduction on the use of proper tools and protective equipment when handling waste.

In addition to training, facilities should provide sufficient working instruction and signs for handling, segregating and transporting non-hazardous waste.

How This Will Be Verified:

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Training documentation including ALL of the below:
      • Proper handling
      • The procedures for identifying, segregating, collecting and transporting hazardous waste
      • The procedures of tracking and weighing the quantity of hazardous waste
      • Storage and disposal techniques and procedures
      • Specific operational procedures for waste minimization
      • Personal protective equipment distribution and usage management
    • Interview Questions to Ask:
      • Key employees have undergone hazardous waste handling training
      • Employees understand the risks of not following the safety procedures
    • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
      • Training documents
      • Training sign in sheets
      • Training testing results documents
      • Pictures of Training event

Partial Yes: Partial credit if all the preventive measure to fully control any contamination (air, soil and underground…) are not fully in place and controlled yet

  • Documentation Required:
    • Training documentation including some of the below:
      • Proper handling
      • The procedures for identifying, segregating, collecting and transporting hazardous waste
      • The procedures of tracking and weighing the quantity of hazardous waste
      • Storage and disposal techniques and procedures
      • Specific operational procedures for waste minimization
      • Personal protective equipment distribution and usage management
    • Interview Questions to Ask:
      • Key employees have undergone hazardous waste handling training
  • Inspection – things to physically look for:
    • Training documents
    • Training sign in sheets
    • Training result testing documents
    • Pictures of Training event

Waste – Level 2

Questions

If yes, select all sources of waste for which your facility has set a baseline

  • Source of Waste
  • Is the baseline absolute or normalized?
  • What is the baseline quantity?
  • Unit of Measure
  • Enter the baseline year
  • How was your baseline calculated?

Was the baseline verified?

What is the intent of the question?

In order to demonstrate improvements or reductions of waste sources, it’s important to know what your starting point is. Setting a baseline (i.e. the annual performance of a set parameter at a defined base year) enables you to have clear reference point for ongoing waste performance tracking and target setting.

Technical Guidance:

A “baseline” is a starting point or benchmark that you can use to compare yourself against over time.

In the FEM, baselines can be “absolute” (total waste quantity for a reporting period e.g. 1,500 tons per year) or “normalized” to a product or operational metric (e.g. 0.15 kg per unit of production). Data normalization is recommended to account for operational fluctuations as this provides for better year-over-year comparison of data and therefore more useful, and actionable analytics.

When establishing a baseline, be sure to do the following:

  • Confirm the waste source data is stable, and sufficient to be used to determine a baseline. In the Higg FEM, a baseline should generally comprise of a full calendar year’s data.
    • Note: If your factory has undergone major structural or operational changes such as acquisition or changes in product type, in general, you should establish or reset a baseline after those changes have been completed.
  • Determine if the baseline will be Absolute or Normalized (Normalized baselines are preferred)
  • Verify the source data and normalizing metric data is accurate.
    • Waste quantities and production volume data from previous Higg FEM 3.0 verifications, internal or external audits conducted by qualified personnel are acceptable sources of data verification.
  • Apply the appropriate baseline metric (i.e., per year for absolute OR divide by the chosen normalizing metric 1,500,000 kg per 1,000,000 pieces = 1.5kg/piece)
    • Note: For waste sources that is not related to production, other normalizing metrics should be used where appropriate (e.g. food or other domestic wastes can be normalized per meal served or per worker)

Note: If the baseline is used to evaluate performance against a target, the baseline should remain unchanged.

Reporting baseline data in the Higg FEM:

Do:

  • Review source data and raw normalizing metric data (manifests/invoices, weighing records, production quantity, etc.) against aggregated totals to ensure they are accurate. (e.g. double check monthly waste source records to ensure they match the annual waste quantities used to calculate the baseline).
  • Select the appropriate baseline type in the FEM – Absolute or Normalized.
  • Ensure the proper units are reported and verify any unit conversions from source data to reported data.
  • Enter the baseline year. This is the year the baseline data represents.
  • Provide sufficient details on how the baseline was calculated (e.g. waste quantity was normalized per meter of fabric produced).
  • Only select Yes to the question “Was the baseline verified?” if the baseline data was fully verified in a previous Higg FEM 3.0 verifications, or by an internal or external audit conducted by qualified personnel.

Do Not:

  • Report a baseline that is not accurate (e.g. the data source is unknown or has not been verified)
  • Report a baseline that is based on insufficient data (e.g., not a full year’s data).
  • Report an estimated baseline if it is not supported by verifiable and accurate estimation methodology and data (e.g. engineering calculations).

How This Will Be Verified:

When verifying a facility’s baselines, Verifiers must review:

  • All source data (manifests/invoices, weighing records, production quantity, etc.) and aggregated data totals for the baseline year; and/or
  • Records of baseline data verification where available (e.g., previous Higg Verification, data quality review, internal or external audits, etc.)

If any inconsistencies or errors are noted, the reported information must be corrected where possible and detailed comments should be included in the Verification Data field.

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Documentation of each waste source’s baseline and baseline setting process as well as the related data tracking regarding baseline setting
    • Ability to demonstrate how baseline data was validated (e.g., used Higg FEM 3.0 verified data, used internal validation process)
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Discussion with the team responsible for managing the metrics. The team must clearly explain and demonstrate how baseline data was calculated and validated (e.g., used Higg FEM 3.0 verified data, used internal validation process, external audit, etc.)
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Waste generation points
    • Waste storage areas
    • Waste weighing area

If yes, indicate which methods:

  • Disposal method
  • What is the baseline quantity? (Enter a Percentage %)
  • Enter the baseline year
  • How was your baseline calculated?

Was the baseline verified?

What is the intent of the question?

In order to demonstrate improvements in waste disposal methods, it’s important to know what your starting point is. Setting a baseline (i.e. the annual performance of a set parameter at a defined base year) enables you to have clear reference point for ongoing improvements in waste disposal method tracking and target setting.

Technical Guidance:

Waste disposal method baseline are different from the waste source baseline in Question 8. Disposal methods baselines focus on the percentage of total facility wastes being disposed of by a specific method (e.g. 60% of all waste generated at the facility in a year is disposed of by landfilling).

When establishing a waste disposal method baseline, be sure to do the following:

  • Confirm the waste quantity data is accurate, includes all sources and is sufficient to be used to determine a baseline. In the Higg FEM, a baseline should generally comprise of a full calendar year’s data.
    • Note: If your factory has undergone major structural or operational changes such as acquisition or changes in product type, in general, you should establish or reset a baseline after those changes have been completed.
  • Calculate the total amount of waste generated at the facility (from all sources) including hazardous and non-hazardous sources.
  • Calculate the total amount of wastes being disposed of using a particular disposal method (e.g. landfill, recycling. Incineration)
  • Divide the total amount of waste disposed of using the same method by the total amount of waste generated. For example:
    • Total waste generated from all sources: 460,555 kg per year
    • Total amount of waste recycled (all relevant sources): 255,000kg/year
    • Baseline for recycled waste: 55.3% (255,000kg/460,555kg)

Note: If the baseline is used to evaluate performance against a target, the baseline should remain unchanged.

Reporting baseline data in the Higg FEM:

Do:

  • Review source data (manifests/invoices, weighing records, etc.) against aggregated totals to ensure they are accurate. (e.g. double check monthly waste source records to ensure they match the annual waste quantities used to calculate the baseline).
  • Ensure all waste sources (hazardous and non-hazardous) are included in the facility’s total waste quantities and quantities for each disposal method.
  • Enter the baseline year. This is the year the baseline data represents.
  • Provide sufficient details on how the baseline was calculated (e.g. total quantity of all recycled waste was divided by total quantity of waste generated at the facility).
  • Only select Yes to the question “Was the baseline verified?” if the baseline data was fully verified in a previous Higg FEM 3.0 verifications, or by an internal or external audit conducted by qualified personnel.

Do Not:

  • Report a baseline that is not accurate (e.g. the data source is unknown or has not been verified)
  • Report a baseline that is based on insufficient data (e.g., not a full year’s data).
  • Report an estimated baseline if it is not supported by verifiable and accurate estimation methodology and data (e.g. engineering calculations).

How This Will Be Verified:

When verifying a facility’s baselines, Verifiers must review:

  • All source data (manifests/invoices, weighing records, production quantity, etc.) and aggregated data totals for the baseline year; and/or
  • Records of baseline data verification where available (e.g., previous Higg Verification, data quality review, internal or external audits, etc.)

If any inconsistencies or errors are noted, the reported information must be corrected where possible and detailed comments should be included in the Verification Data field.

Yes:

  • Documentation Required:
    • Documentation of each the waste disposal method’s baseline setting process as well as the related data tracking regarding baseline setting
    • Ability to demonstrate how baseline data was validated (e.g., used Higg FEM 3.0 verified data, used internal validation process)
    • Waste handlers’ contract. The records of waste disposal data and process explanation.
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Discussion with the team responsible for managing the metrics. The team must clearly explain and demonstrate how baseline data was calculated and validated (e.g., used Higg FEM 3.0 verified data, used internal validation process, external audit, etc.)
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Waste disposal methods at the facility and waste handling contractor’s site.

Select all sources of waste for which your facility has set a quantity or improvement target.

  • What is your target change for waste generated from this source? Make sure to enter a negative percentage (%) for a reduction target
  • What is the target year?

Describe the measures planned to achieve this target

You will receive Full Points if you set targets for waste quantity that make up 80% or more of your total waste generated.

You will receive Partial Points if you set targets for waste quantities that make up 50-79% of your total waste generated. This is to reward you for aiming to reduce your greatest sources of waste generation which will maximize environmental impact.

Please Note: Full or Partial Points are automatically calculated based on which sources you select and report having an improvement target for.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is for you to set up at least one waste reduction target for your facility.

Sustainable companies continually work towards minimizing their environmental impacts. Now that you know how much waste your facility generates (your “baseline”), you are ready to set targets to reduce the amount of waste generated.

Note: Facilities can separate targets for waste quantities and disposal methods. This Question focuses on waste quantities for specific sources of waste.

Targets can be long-term or short-term (short term=less than 3 years, long term=more than 3 years). Once set, progress should be reviewed at least quarterly to ensure adjustments are made as needed to stay on track to realize success.

Technical Guidance:

A target can use absolute or normalized metrics to drive quantifiable improvements by a set date compared to the baseline. For Higg FEM, reduction targets may be normalized to the production volume unit (selected in Site Info section: Annual volume unit) or another appropriate operational metric. A normalized target shows you when progress is real, rather than being a result of business changes such as reductions in production. An example of a normalized target is kilograms (kg) of a waste generated for the production of one unit of sellable product (kg/unit).

The Higg FEM requires that formal targets be set in order to be able to answer Yes to this question. When establishing formal improvement targets, be sure to do the following:

  • Base the target on a formal evaluation of improvement opportunities and actions (e.g. change of raw materials/packaging, process modifications or equipment replacement) to calculate the amount of waste that can be reduced.
    • For example: Setting a target based on an evaluation of the purchase of laser cutting machines that is expected to reduce fabric waste by 15% per meter of fabric that was calculated based on a formal review of equipment specifications and planned operations.
  • Define the exact target quantity, expressed as a percent (e.g. reduce normalized fabric waste per piece by 5%). This must be based on a formal evaluation as noted above.
  • Determine if the target will be Absolute or Normalized to a production or operating metric.
  • Define the start date (i.e., “baseline”) of the target.
  • Define the end date of the target, meaning the intended completion date of the required improvements.
  • Define the appropriate measurement units.
  • Establish procedures to review the target. This review should include an evaluation of the actions taken and progress on reaching the defined target. Quarterly reviews are recommended.
  • Ensure the target is relevant to reducing the site’s waste (e.g. focuses on the most significant waste sources at the site)

Reporting Targets in the Higg FEM:

Do:

  • Review the target to ensure all aspects noted above are covered and that the information is accurate.
  • Enter the targeted reduction as a percentage. Make sure to enter a negative percentage for a reduction target (e.g. -5 for a 5% reduction)
  • Select the appropriate target type in the FEM – Absolute or Normalized.
  • Provide sufficient details on how the target will be met in the “Describe the measures planned to achieve this target:” field (e.g. Achieve a 3% reduction in normalized cardboard waste generated by switching to reusable cartons for raw material deliveries).

Do Not:

  • Report a target that is not accurate (e.g. the data source is unknown or has not been verified)
  • Report a target that is based on insufficient data. (e.g. a reduction target that is not based on a formal evaluation of options such as process/equipment modifications or change of materials used to meet the stated target OR actions to meet the target have not been defined.)
  • Report an estimated target if it is not supported by verifiable and accurate estimation methodology and data (e.g. engineering calculations).

How This Will Be Verified:

When verifying a facility’s targets, Verifiers must review:

  • All supporting evidence (e.g. calculations, waste quantity data and baselines, new/proposed equipment specifications, etc) to verify target is based on a formal evaluation of improvement opportunities.
  • Facility operations in relation to its waste sources to ensure targets and opportunities evaluated are relevant to the site’s wastes.

If any inconsistencies or errors are noted, the reported information must be corrected where possible and detailed comments should be included in the Verification Data field.

Full Points

  • Documentation Required:
    • Supporting documentation that demonstrate targets are based on a formal evaluation of reductions/improvement opportunities (e.g. calculations, waste quantity data and baselines, new/proposed equipment specifications, etc)
    • Supporting methodology and calculations to show how the target(s) was calculated
    • List of measures/actions to be taken to achieve the target
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Discussion with the team responsible for managing the targets. The team must clearly explain and demonstrate how the target was determined (e.g. based on calculated reductions from evaluations of improvement opportunities) and how the target is monitored and reviewed
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Evidences supporting waste reduction target strategies

Partial Yes

  • Same requirements as for “Yes” answer but for sources (or one source) totalling 50-79% of total wastes (this data is found in the % contribution calculation in Question 1).

If yes, indicate which methods.

  • Waste disposal method
  • What is your target change for this method of disposal?
  • What is the target year?

Describe the measures planned to achieve this target

Please note that you need to set separate targets for total amount of waste generated and disposal method. These targets are focused on disposal methods.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is for you to set up at least one target to improve the waste disposal methods at your facility.

Sustainable companies continually work towards minimizing their environmental impacts. Now that you know the percentage of wastes that are disposed of using a specific method (e.g. landfill, recycling, etc.) (your “baseline”), you are ready to set targets to improve the disposal methods of your waste to reduce environmental impacts.

Targets can be long-term or short-term (short term=less than 3 years, long term=more than 3 years). Once set, progress should be reviewed at least quarterly to ensure adjustments are made as needed to stay on track to realize success.

Technical Guidance:

Minimizing the environmental impact of your waste can be achieved by reducing the quantity of waste generated or by using a disposal method results in less environmental impact. Examples of improvements to disposal methods can include:

  • Increase quantity of waste sent to external recycling contractors and biological treatment (such as non-hazardous production waste recycling and food waste biological treatment) to divert waste from landfill or incineration without energy recovery.
  • Switch to a disposal/treatment method that recovers usable aspects of the waste (e.g., using incineration with energy recovery as opposed to landfilling)

Note: Improving waste disposal methods will often require collaboration with waste treatment vendors to evaluate which preferred disposal methods are available.

When evaluating improvements to waste disposal or treatment methods the following hierarchy can be used (1 being the most preferred option).

  1. Waste Source Reduction & Reuse/Upcycle
  2. Recycle
  3. Energy/Material Recovery (e.g. Incineration with energy recovery)
  4. Other Treatment (e.g. Biological treatment, Incinerated without energy recovery)
  5. Landfill

The Higg FEM requires that formal targets be set in order to be able to answer Yes to this question. When establishing formal improvement targets, be sure to do the following:

  • Base the target on a formal evaluation of improvement opportunities and actions (e.g. a review of the available disposal alternatives with waste treatment vendors) to calculate the amount and types of wastes that can be treated by the preferred method.
    • For example: Setting a target based on an evaluation of sending all fabric and plastic packaging to a recycling vender as opposed to sending it to landfill is expected to result in a 25% increase in waste sent for recycling. Note: It should be confirmed that the vendor is able to recycle the materials and has applicable technology and operating permits to do so.
  • Define the exact target quantity, expressed as a percent (e.g. Increase waste treated by incineration with energy recovery by 15%). This must be based on a formal evaluation as noted above.
  • Define the start date (i.e., “baseline”) of the target.
  • Define the end date of the target, meaning the intended completion date of the required improvements.
  • Establish procedures to review the target. This review should include an evaluation of the actions taken and progress on reaching the defined target. Quarterly reviews are recommended.
  • Ensure the target is relevant to improving the facility’s waste disposal methods (e.g. new disposal methods result in less environmental impact)

Reporting Targets in the Higg FEM:

Do:

  • Review the target to ensure all aspects noted above are covered and that the information is accurate.
  • Enter the targeted reduction as a percentage. Make sure to enter a negative percentage for a reduction target (e.g. -5 for a 5% decrease in disposal method), and a positive percentage for an increased target (e.g. 5 for a 5% increase in disposal method).
  • Provide sufficient details on how the target will be met in the “Describe the measures planned to achieve this target:” field (e.g. Achieve a 10% increase in waste being recycled by sending fabric scrap to a verified fibre recycling vendor).

Do Not:

  • Report a target that is not accurate (e.g. the data source is unknown or has not been verified)
  • Report a target that is based on insufficient data. (e.g. a reduction target that is not based on a formal evaluation of options such as new waste treatment vendors OR actions to meet the target have not been defined.)
  • Report an estimated target if it is not supported by verifiable and accurate estimation methodology and data (e.g. engineering calculations).

How This Will Be Verified:

When verifying a facility’s targets, Verifiers must review:

  • All supporting evidence (e.g. calculations, waste quantity data and baselines, new/proposed waste treatment methods, etc) to verify target is based on a formal evaluation of improvement opportunities.
  • Facility operations in relation to its waste sources to ensure targets and opportunities evaluated are relevant to the site’s wastes.

If any inconsistencies or errors are noted, the reported information must be corrected where possible and detailed comments should be included in the Verification Data field.

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Waste diversion improvement strategies/Waste management plan.
    • Supporting documentation that demonstrate targets are based on a formal evaluation of reductions/improvement opportunities (e.g. waste quantity data and baselines, new/proposed disposal methods, etc).
    • Supporting methodology and calculations to show how the target(s) was calculated.
    • List of measures/actions to be taken to achieve the target.
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Discussion with the team responsible for managing the targets. The team must clearly explain and demonstrate how the target was determined (e.g. based on formal evaluations of improvement opportunities) and how the target is monitored and reviewed.
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Evidences supporting waste diversion improvement target strategies

Upload a copy of the plan.

This should be a waste reduction plan showing specific actions designed to achieve targeted reductions in waste consumption

Answer Yes if you have an implementation plan in place that demonstrates you are taking action to achieve your targeted reductions or improvements.

Answer Partial Yes if you have a plan but have not started on all action items.

You may download a sample implementation plan here

NOTE: This is NOT scoring the actual % of improvement because a facility may be working on the last 5-10% of waste management opportunities which is hard to make up. We don’t want to falsely reward beginners and give fewer points to leaders.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is for your facility to create an action plan for improving waste management (amount or final disposal).

Target-setting is an important step in systematically managing waste, but your site must take action to make reductions. Having an implementation plan demonstrates the action you are taking to achieve your targeted reductions and waste diversions. Some facilities may have an implementation plan without having set targets.

Technical Guidance:

This is your opportunity to document all business processes for waste management projects happening at your facility.

Steps for action should include:

  1. Identification of waste improvement opportunities
  2. Evaluate waste management alternatives
  3. Prioritize the improvement items and with the progressive timelines
  4. Approve funds for chosen solution
  5. Implement the solution and document reductions
  6. Assign a team/staffs to track and monitor the progress
  7. Conduct regular review to check progress of improvement projects

How to create an implementation plan?

You will need management and waste handling contractor’s commitment, employee awareness, and participation to ensure improvement opportunities can be identified, solutions can be proposed, and changes can be made using capital or expense dollars if necessary to successfully implement proposed solutions. To effectively identify waste management opportunities, a waste minimization audit can be conducted. The audit typically provides a systematic assessment of waste generated on-site and identifies opportunities to reduce the environmental and cost impacts of the waste. Often this can involve third party consultation, literature and technology research, design firms, and pilot testing among many other potential paths toward implementation of solutions.

All activity related to meeting targets should be part of an implementation plan to ensure organized and coordinated progress steps take place from the start and prioritize the improvement items with the progressive timelines. After creating this plan, an implementation team is suggested to be created to ensure effective implementation. The assigned staff in this team should have clear roles & responsibilities. The implementation plan should be reviewed at least annually and should at minimum include improvement project details, appropriate implementation timeline and responsible parties.

How This Will Be Verified:

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Plan is in place for managing and implementing environmental performance improvements of waste management.
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Management has communicated plan for managing and implementing environmental performance improvements of waste management to key employees.
    • Key employees understand the plan for managing and implementing environmental performance improvement of waste management.
    • Waste handling contractors have received communication on the plan for managing and implementing environmental performance improvements of waste management.
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Plan for managing and implementing environmental performance improvements of waste management is readily available to employees.
    • Evidences to support plan is being followed in facility and waste handling contractor site.

Partial Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Facility is in the process of creating a plan for managing and implementing environmental performance improvements of waste management.
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Management understand how to create and finalize their plan for managing and implementing environmental performance improvements of waste management.
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Evidence to support the facility is in the progress of creating a plan for managing and implementing environmental performance improvements of waste management.
    • There are clear next steps outlined for completing the plan.
  • Select all sources of waste for which your facility made improvements
  • Select baseline year
  • Quantity
  • Unit of Measure
  • Percent Change

Describe the strategies used to achieve this improvement

You will receive Full Points if you made reductions for waste sources that make up 80% or more of your total waste generated.

You will receive Partial Points if you made reductions for waste sources that make up 50-79% of your total waste generated. This is to reward you for reducing your greatest sources of waste which will maximize environmental impact.

We recommend that you show normalized reductions such as “kg of hazardous waste per product was reduced by 50% in 2019.” This is because normalized metrics show real improvement rather than reductions from business changes such as reduced production. 

What is the intent of the question?

Sustainability is a journey of continuous improvement. Success is the result of extensive work involved in tracking, setting targets, and performing to implementation plans to meet targets. This question provides an opportunity to report quantifiable waste management display improvements made in the Higg FEM reporting year.  By tracking success over the previous year, a facility proves through results the commitment made towards sustainability.

This is your opportunity to demonstrate impact reduction from your hard work to track, set targets and create an action plan. Use this question to share what you have accomplished.

Technical Guidance:

Improvements can be absolute or normalized, however it is recommended that you show normalized reductions such as “carton waste used was reduced by 0.015kg/unit the reporting year.” This is because normalized metrics show real improvement rather than reductions from business changes such as reduced production.

The FEM requires that year over year improvements be demonstrated in order to be able to answer Yes to this question. When evaluating your waste reductions, be sure to do the following:

  • Review the waste source data and aggregated total to ensure the data and any automated calculations are accurate.
  • Review the actions taken to make improvements and determine if they have resulted in measurable improvements by comparing the data with historical waste data to determine the improvement quantity. Note: Historical data accuracy should also be verified.
    • For example: The installation of 5 laser cutting machines produced a reduction of 0.02kg of fabric waste per unit made, which is a 8% reduction from the previous year’s normalized waste data.

Note: Facility construction and demolition (C&D) waste should not be included in the baseline and reduction performance. Also, the reductions are attributable to measures taken by the site.

Reporting Improvements in the Higg FEM:

Do:

  • Review the improvement data to ensure all aspects noted above are covered and that the information is accurate.
  • Enter the improvement quantity either as an absolute or normalized value. This is the year over year change in energy use for the source. (e.g. previous year’s consumption – reporting year consumption = the change in energy use) Make sure to enter a negative number for a reduction (e.g. -0.05 for a normalized reduction of 0.05 kg/piece) and a positive number for an increase (e.g.  03 for a normalized increase in renewable energy use of  0.03 kg/piece)
  • Select the appropriate units for the improvement. (If the appropriate units are not available, list the units in the “Describe the strategies used to achieve this improvement:” field)
  • Input the percent (%) change in the waste quantity from the previous year. Make sure to enter a negative percentage for a reduction (e.g. -5 for a 5% reduction), and a positive percentage for increased (e.g. 5 for a 5% increase).
  • Provide sufficient details in the “Describe the strategies used to achieve this improvement:” field (e.g. Normalized waste generation was reduced by switching to reusable packaging containers for raw materials).

Do Not:

  • Report improvements that are not accurate (e.g. the data source is unknown or has not been verified)
  • Report improvement that were not achieved in the FEM reporting year (e.g. historical improvements achieved more than 1 year ago should not be reported)
  • Report an improvement that is absolute and relates to a decrease in production or reduced facility operations. This is why data normalization is important.
  • Report an improvement that is based on insufficient data. (e.g. an overall reduction was achieved but this was not related to measurable or defined actions taken to achieve the reduction). This is particularly important when the improvements are marginal (e.g. less than 1-2%) and possibly attributable to measurement/ tracking errors and/or operational variability.

How This Will Be Verified:

When verifying a facility’s improvements, Verifiers must review:

  • All supporting evidence (e.g. waste quantity data and baselines, etc.) to verify the reported improvement quantity is accurate and attributable to measurable actions taken to reduce waste.
  • The implemented changes or actions taken to achieve the improvements.

If any inconsistencies or errors are noted, the reported information must be corrected where possible and detailed comments should be included in the Verification Data field.

Full Points

  • Documentation Required:
    • Waste tracking reports and quantity records showing reductions of waste sources that make up more than 80% of your site’s total waste.
    • Evidence of waste reduction initiatives that demonstrate that waste reductions weren’t made solely from a decline in production, or number of workers.
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Discussion with the team responsible for waste management. The team must clearly explain and demonstrate how the improvement was achieved (e.g. what actions were taken, and how this change was measured and calculated).
    • Management is actively promoting site implementation of leading practices in relation to reducing waste.
    • Management understand what recognized international standard practice is in relation to waste reduction for their sector/geography.
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Process in the facility which have contributed to improvements made listed in strategies.

Partial Points

  • Same requirements as for “yes” above but for waste sources (or one source) that make up 50- 79% of the site’s total waste.

If yes, indicate which methods.

  • Select baseline year
  • What was the percentage change?

Describe the strategies used to achieve this improvement

What is the intent of the question?

Sustainability is a journey of continuous improvement. Success is the result of extensive work involved in tracking, setting targets, and performing to implementation plans to meet targets. This question provides an opportunity to report quantifiable improvements made in waste disposal methods in this FEM reporting year. By tracking success over the previous year, a facility proves through results the commitment made towards sustainability.

This is your opportunity to demonstrate impact improvement from your hard work to track, set targets and create an action plan. Use this question to share what you have accomplished.

Technical Guidance:

Improvements in waste disposal methods can be demonstrated by diverting wastes to a preferred disposal/treatment method that results in less impacts to the environment. For example, sending waste to be treated through incineration with energy recovery instead of being sent to a landfill or increasing the amount of waste that is for recycling.

Note: Waste disposal methods should be attributable to measures taken by the facility (e.g. collaboration with waste disposal vendors).

The Higg FEM requires that year over year improvements be demonstrated in order to be able to answer Yes to this question. When evaluating your improvements, be sure to do the following:

  • Review the waste data and aggregated totals to ensure the data and any automated calculations are accurate.
  • Review the actions taken to make improvements and determine if they have resulted in measurable improvements by comparing the data with historical waste data to determine the improvement quantity. Note: Historical data accuracy should also be verified.
    • For example: By sourcing a new material recycling vendor using advanced technology, the facility was able to increase the amount of total waste recycled by 25%.

Reporting Improvements in the Higg FEM:

Do:

  • Review the improvement data to ensure all aspects noted above are covered and that the information is accurate.
  • Input the percent (%) change in the waste disposal methods from the previous year. Make sure to enter a negative percentage for a reduction (e.g. -5 for a 5% reduction), and a positive percentage for increased (e.g. 5 for a 5% increase).
  • Provide sufficient details in the “Describe the strategies used to achieve this improvement:” field (e.g. both fabric and leather waste are now being sent to material recycler instead of landfill).

Do Not:

  • Report improvements that are not accurate (e.g. the data source is unknown or has not been verified)
  • Report improvement that were not achieved in the FEM reporting year (e.g. historical improvements achieved more than 1 year ago should not be reported)
  • Report an improvement that only relates to a decrease in production or reduced facility operations.
  • Report an improvement that is based on insufficient data. (e.g. an overall reduction was achieved but this was not related to measurable or defined actions taken to achieve the reduction). This is particularly important when the improvements are marginal (e.g. less than 1-2%) and possibly attributable to measurement/ tracking errors and/or operational variability.

How This Will Be Verified:

When verifying a facility’s improvements, Verifiers must review:

  • All supporting evidence (e.g. waste quantity data, waste disposal records and baselines, etc.) to verify the reported improvement in disposal methods are accurate and attributable to actions taken by the facility.
  • The implemented changes or actions taken to achieve the improvements.

If any inconsistencies or errors are noted, the reported information must be corrected where possible and detailed comments should be included in the Verification Data field.

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Waste quantity and disposal records showing that the reported quantities (as a percentage of total wastes) were diverted to disposal methods which result in reduced environmental impacts.
    • Documented methodology that shows how the improvement was calculated (as a percentage of total wastes).
    • Evidence that the improvements are attributable to measures taken by the facility (e.g. collaboration with waste disposal vendors) and weren’t made solely from a decline in production, or number of employees.
    • A description of the plan/strategies used to achieve these improvements.
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Discussion with the team responsible for managing energy use. The team must clearly explain and demonstrate how the improvement was achieved (e.g. what actions were taken, and how this change was measured and calculated).
    • Management understands the concept of improving waste disposal methods and whether the site waste diversion rate to preferred disposal alternatives is increasing.
    • Management is actively promoting or endorsing site implementation of leading practices in relation to increasing the percentage of waste materials that are diverted to preferred disposal alternatives such as reuse or recycling, incineration with energy recovery.
    • Management understand what recognized international standard practice is in relation to waste disposal alternatives for their sector/geography.
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Process in the facility or waste handling contractors which have contributed to waste diversion improvements made listed in strategies

Waste – Level 3

Questions
  • If yes, please upload the supporting documentation.

Describe how you work with your facility’s waste contractors to ensure appropriate disposal during the waste treatment.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is to validate the final disposal and treatment of all hazardous waste. You should be able to describe how you engage with your waste contractors, including your workflow and process to ensure their environmental performance.

Technical Guidance:

Hazardous waste poses serious risk to the environment when improperly treated and disposed of. It is considered leading practice for a facility to take extra steps to confirm that their waste contractors are properly transporting, storing, treating and disposing of hazardous wastes from your facility site. Facilities should screen, validate and check contractors every three years.

A facility should evaluate its waste contractors during the contractor selection process and conduct regular assessments of the waste contractors to ensure that they are operating in legal compliance and with the terms of the contract.

When evaluating waste management contractor, consider:

  • Waste contractor qualifications (such as business license, environment permits, reports) of the contractor.
  • Waste contractor due diligence and legal environment performance (any historic violations)
  • Their overall environmental performance
  • Cost viability of using the contractor’s services (GSCP)

Conduct regular assessments after the contract is placed. Things to look for in your waste contractor:

  • Implement practices to transport waste in a way that is traceable, secure, and waste must remain segregated and properly labeled at all times
  • Have a facility with impermeable surfaces, proper security, and fire/flood protection
  • Not engage in illegal dumping or burning either on or off-site
  • Implement human health and safety practices such as providing employee access to personal protective equipment, training, and machine safety
  • If they use optimized waste disposal methods (such as recycling hazardous waste or incinerate hazardous waste with energy recovery) to reduce the impacts to the environment.

How This Will Be Verified:

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Records of validating final disposal of ALL hazardous waste
    • Records for validating with contractors every 3 years
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Management is able to explain how they work with contractors to ensure their environmental performance during the waste treatment
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Evidences to support facility has validated their waste contractors waste treatment in the past 3 years.
  • If yes, please upload the supporting documentation.
  • Please describe how this is implemented.

Suggested Upload: Waste inventory and waste manifests showing >90% diversion from landfills/incinerators

Zero waste to landfill is defined as diverting 90% or more of all discarded materials away from landfills, incinerators and the environment (UL 2799 Zero Waste to Landfill)

Answer Yes
If you can demonstrate that you divert 90% or more of all waste.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is for your facility to divert all waste from landfill or incineration without energy recovery. Waste disposal is considered as the least economically favorable and environmentally beneficial waste management option. In order to qualify for this point the facility must divert at least 90% of all waste from landfill or incineration without energy recovery through optimized alternatives (reduction, reuse, recycling, biological treatment), closed loop material take-back program, or incineration with controlled % energy recovery.

Technical Guidance:

It is recognized that a mature industrial economy could not reach literal zero waste and there are different thresholds guiding zero waste. This question aspires the facility to attain leading practices in waste reduction by diverting 90 percent of all discarded materials from landfills, incinerators without energy recovery and the environment: a condition defined by Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) as “Zero Waste” (http://zwia.org/standards/zero-is-zero/)

A useful hierarchy for how to move closer to Zero Waste can be found here: http://zwia.org/standards/zero-waste-hierarchy/

UL 2799 standard (Zero Waste to Landfill) can be found here:

https://standardscatalog.ul.com/standards/en/standard_2799_3

Achieving true “zero” waste is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Given that reality, the two most important aspect to demonstrate are:

  1. All viable and optimized waste diversion options are considered
  2. You have a process to examine remaining materials and use this information to refine your systems to rethink, redesign, reduce, reuse, and recycle in order to prevent further discards. If you can demonstrate proactive thought on remaining materials, this is satisfactory for “zero waste” at this point

How This Will Be Verified:

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Documentation of all waste streams and waste disposal paths.
    • Documentation of process to examine and prepare to divert any remaining wastes.
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Management is aware and able to explain how to implement all optimized waste diversion options and how the remaining wastes are being considered for future diversion.
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Evidences to support this plan.
    • Waste contractor site inspection
    • Remaining materials diversion equipment or site inspection
  • If yes, please describe how.

Suggested Upload: Pictures or process flows, showing type and amounts of waste that are recycled into products of the same or higher value

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is to encourage the facility to upcycle or establish closed-loop systems, where previously discarded products circle back into the value chain in order to reduce, reuse and recycle waste generated at the facility.

Technical Guidance:

Upcycling is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless and/or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

Recycling used garments and fabrics to manufacture new clothing, making fabric from used plastic bottles, and upcycling coal ash from the boiler room to make bricks are some examples of upcycling. A facility can engage its material suppliers, buyers and waste management contractors to find creative solutions to upcycle wastes.

A circular economy is a regenerative system in which resource input and waste, emissions, and energy leakages are minimized by slowing, closing, and narrowing energy and material loops; this can be achieved through long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling, and upcycling. This is in contrast to a linear economy which is a ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production.

The four aspects of a closed-loop supply chain:

  • Source: Use recycled or renewable materials that are responsibly sourced.
  • Make efficiently: Design and manufacture products to minimize the use of materials.
  • Use for a long time: Design products to be durable, so they can have long lives.
  • Contribute: Replenish market supply with an amount of recycled, reclaimed, or renewable material at least equal to the amount used to make the product.

How This Will Be Verified:

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
    • Records to indicate the facility upcycles some of its waste or inserts it back into circular economy
  • Interview Questions to Ask:
    • Management is able to explain how facility upcycles some of its waste or inserts it back into circular economy
  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Evidences to support facility upcycles some of its waste or inserts it back into circular economy
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