At Pentair, sustainability is not a separate initiative, but rather it is core to how we operate, the solutions we create, and the customers we serve. Identifying opportunities to recycle waste and reuse materials within our own operations is a key element of our waste management and Zero Waste programs to help mitigate our environmental footprint.
As highlighted in our current Corporate Responsibility Report, our Zero Waste program achieved a recycling rate of 77 percent in 2020, up five percent from when the program was first launched in 2018. This initiative measures waste reduction and materials use across our manufacturing locations. The model minimizes waste creation, finds way to reuse material where waste generation is unavoidable, recycles waste with third-party vendors, and prioritizes beneficial reuse of waste material.
Pentair’s global operations are diverse in nature which drives significant complexity in our waste management program and requires us to find unique opportunities for beneficial reuse and generation reduction. Following are two highlights of our reuse and recycling efforts in action:
Plastics Reuse and Recycling
Our facility in Chardon, Ohio uses approximately 6.5 million pounds of high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic each year to manufacture several of our residential water filtration and softening solutions. Each product manufactured creates roughly 25 to 30 percent (by weight) of excess material that is molded and removed prior to creating the final product. This excess material is then reused as raw material in the next production cycle rather than being scrapped or recycled externally, resulting in approximately 1.9 million pounds of HDPE material being reused every year. Additionally, any product with identified defects not affecting product integrity is also reused in the next production batch. This allows us to reuse 99 percent of HDPE plastic within our manufacturing processes. Approximately one percent, or 60,000 pounds, of HDPE is currently sent off site annually for recycling rather than reuse due to contamination or foreign material.
Our site in Ashland, Ohio operates its own foundry for metal castings in the manufacture of residential, commercial, and industrial pumps. High-quality sand is crucial to the final outcome of a foundry metal casting. In 2020, we installed thermal reclaim technology to clean the sand of impurities for reuse. Through this process, we are able to produce sand at a higher quality rate than when purchased in raw form, capture reduced operating costs, and reduce silica exposure in our foundry. Using this emerging class of clean plant technology, we anticipate preventing approximately 3,500 tons of sand from being landfilled each year.
On America Recycles Day and every day, Pentair is committed to advancing our waste management efforts, especially in areas of source separation and material reuse, to achieve continuous improvement in Pentair's Zero Waste performance.
We invite you to take your own #BeRecycled Pledge to learn more about recycling in your community, and to reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle in your daily life.