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At Gildan, one of our key objectives with regards to environmental sustainability is the reduction of waste. Our waste reduction efforts include recycling and the establishment of waste prevention measures at all stages of the production cycle. Proper waste management practices are essential to our operations. We use a variety of materials in our processes, as such it is important for us to ensure that the majority of these materials are reused and recycled to the greatest extent possible, while ensuring that the remainder of the waste is disposed of in a responsible manner. Waste reduction, reuse, and recycling practices are fundamental to Gildan's operations.

By 2020 Gildan will reduce landfilled waste intensity by 10%, per kg of product, from our owned operations, when compared to our 2015 baseline year.

Since 2015, Gildan shows an increasing trend in our landfill waste intensity of 28%. In 2016 we managed to recycle or repurposed 86% of our total waste.

We attribute the aforementioned landfill waste intensity increase to refurbishment efforts in several facilities including our Rio Nance 1 textile facility in Honduras and one of our yarn-spinning facility’s located in Clarkton, NC in addition to the ramp up of our largest new yarn-spinning facility in Mocksville, NC.

This increase in landfilled wastes for 2016 is atypical and we are continuing to develop key initiatives to reduce waste and reach our 10% reduction goal by 2020.

One of the outcomes of Gildan’s 2016 EHS summit was the call for the identification of waste reduction initiatives at a facility level. This exercise will enable us to better identify key initiatives that can help us reach our 10% landfill waste reduction target by 2020. We will continue to improve the landfill waste deferral rate of the least performing facilities by implementing successful programs taken from our better performing facilities.

As a first step of the waste reduction identification efforts, our Central American EHS regional team carried out a deep dive at the following manufacturing locations: Nicaragua, Honduras and Dominican Republic. As part of the deep dive exercise, the current equipment in use for waste management was assessed in order to determine if it is optimal for the required application or if there are better alternatives available in the market, in addition to determining if supplementary equipment is needed at each of the manufacturing locations. The regional EHS team is also evaluating new waste disposal contractors at each location.

Other measures underway at other manufacturing locations include: the re-evaluation of current waste streams in order to maximize recycled wastes/reduce wastes sent to landfills, employee awareness and training campaigns and reduction-at-source initiatives that include the selection of products with reduced packaging and working with suppliers that enable the return of packaging materials/containers for reuse/repurposing.        

Gildan’s Waste Management System was developed in 2007 and implemented over the course of 2008 and 2009. It is based on the 4R-D concept: Reduction, Reuse, Recycle, Recovery, and Disposal. It consists in identifying and quantifying all waste by type and weight on a monthly basis, and ensuring an effective waste management and control.

Implementing this Waste Management System involved several key steps representing best practices, which were communicated to supervisors and production staff at each of our company owned facilities through a series of comprehensive training sessions. Dedicated on-site environmental staff provide supports for the key steps of the program which include:

  • Overview of the waste classification process;
  • Acceptable processes for handling different types of waste;
  • Site-specific information for cafeteria, office and facility waste reduction measures and classification;
  • Creation of additional facilities to store waste where necessary;
  • Processes for documenting and reporting waste data;
  • Identification of the impact our business has on the environment;
  • Identification of opportunities to continue raising awareness and integrating waste management practices.

Total hazardous waste: biomedical, hazardous and special waste

Non-hazardous: landfill and recycled waste

Landfill waste data for certain sites have been estimated based on historical performance.
Gildan’s numbers have been normalized according to an adjusted baseline to include mergers, acquisitions and divestitures since 2015. For more details on the methodology used for the baseline adjustment, please refer to our reporting section.

Gildan’s Waste Management System includes best practices designed and based on our corporate standard. They include, at a minimum, compliance with the legal requirements in the countries in which we operate.

The special waste category includes domestic batteries (disposable and rechargeable batteries), industrial batteries, construction, renovation and demolition waste, information and communications technology waste (ICT) and fluorescent lights.