At Gildan, one of our key objectives with regards to environmental sustainability is waste reduction through recycling and the establishment of waste prevention measures at all stages of the production cycle. Proper waste management is essential as we use a variety of materials in our processes and it is important to ensure as much of these materials are reused and recycled to the greatest extent possible, and the remainder is disposed of in a responsible manner. Waste minimization, reuse, and recycling activities are fundamental to Gildan's operations.
In 2012, Gildan established the following target related to waste: 20% reduction in waste sent to landfills resulting from our operations by 2015 when compared to our 2010 baseline. In 2015, we decreased our waste sent to the landfill by 19% when compared to the 2010 baseline.
Although we did not completely reach our target, we attribute the 19% decrease of our waste to landfill to:
- An increase in the % of recycled waste at our facilities. This includes waste from the production area and at our cafeterias following a recycling awareness campaign.
- An increase in the % of the recovered waste that we generate at the production area. For example, cardboard, wood pallets and reels of yarn are used as biomass in our boilers.
In addition, in 2015, we managed to recycle or repurpose close to 89% of our total waste.
At Gildan, we continually strive to establish more efficient processes in our operations. We have recently set a new 5-year target: reduce our waste sent to landfill by 10% by 2020 based on our 2015 baseline.
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 series of various comprehensive training sessions. Dedicated on-site environmental staff support key steps of the program, which include:
- Overview of waste classification;
- Processes for handling each type of waste;
- Site-specific information for cafeteria, office and facility waste reduction and streaming;
- 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 2010. 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 own corporate standard. They include, at a minimum, 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.