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Success Stories - Utilities

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The success stories provided on this website are for information purposes only and do not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by EPA or the United States Government of any specific commercial products, processes, or services mentioned therein.

Consolidated Edison Company of New York

Consolidated Edison Company of New York is a regulated utility that provides New York City and Westchester County with both electric and natural gas services. From its industrial operations, Con Edison recycled more than 41,000 tons of non-hazardous materials in 2008. Its transformer shop reconditions and reuses large transformers and last year earned $19 million of revenue and saved nearly 11,219 tons of reclaimed steel, copper, aluminum, and mixed metals. Con Edison also reclaimed 77 tons of steel piping and recycled more than 700 tons of mixed office paper for a combined savings of $52,000.

Southern California Edison

In 2008, Southern California Edison revamped its comprehensive Waste Not program with the goal of establishing office recycling programs in all of its 125 facilities. The company provided employees with training materials, information packets, signage, and instructional presentations. As a result, Southern California Edison captured 1,263 tons of office-grade paper and corrugated cardboard for recycling. The company also diverted more than 187,000 pounds of computer equipment from landfills by donating nearly 4,800 unused computers to a local charity.

Constellation Energy/BGE – Baltimore, MD

Constellation Energy, together with its subsidiary BGE, is one of the nation’s largest wholesale power companies and America’s oldest energy utility. It lights up the waste reduction scene with its reuse and recycling programs. The company has won seven WasteWise awards since joining as a Charter Partner in 1994. Although Constellation faces many waste reduction challenges from materials unique to the energy industry (such as coal ash), the company has implemented many reuse and recycling solutions—helping it save more than $30 million in new purchases and disposal costs. In 1998, Constellation installed a separator at its Brandon Shores, Maryland, power plant to separate carbon from coal ash, making it usable in specialty concrete. Along with other coal ash applications like flowable fill and blasting grit, this project allowed Constellation to recycle approximately 450,000 tons of coal ash, or greater than half of all ash the company produced in 2005. During the last ten years, Constellation has increased its ash recycling approximately 2.2 million tons of various materials. BGE previously had to dispose of electronic reading transmitters (ERTs)—used in gas meters—as hazardous waste. In 2005, the company found a remanufacturer for the ERTs, resulting in potential savings of more than one million dollars throughout the lifespan of all ERTs now in service.

Every year BGE recycles thousands of tons of materials like metals, paper, and wood and returns remanufactured tools, meters, and electrical equipment from its equipment shops to useful service.

In 2004, Constellation Energy’s Generation Group maintained an ash reuse program at its Brandon Shores coal-fired power plant in Baltimore, Md. Through a partnership with Separation Technologies, LLC, a separator removes carbon from the fly ash to make it usable in concrete. The partnership has been so successful that, in 2004, storage space was increased by 35,000 tons and a second separator was added—allowing Separation Technologies to process and use most of the fly ash produced by the plant, some 140,000 tons in 2004.

Constellation Energy Group sought out innovative and cost-effective new programs to prevent waste, increase recycling rates, and increase spending on recycled-content products in 2000. The utility donated 26.9 tons of computers and electronic equipment for reuse through its computer donation program. Hard copies of numerous documents, including the employee handbook and an environmental standards publication, were eliminated and made available electronically on the corporate intranet. In 2000, 96 wood utility poles were refurbished, inspected, and returned to stock for reuse, saving the company $28,800. The company also promoted waste prevention both to its employees and to other businesses through its Businesses for the Bay mentoring program, participation in various events, and featured articles in the company’s Business Express newsletter and internal magazine Quest. Constellation Energy Group, which employs 6,500 people, also recycled an impressive 412 tons of yard trimmings, 149 tons of non-ferrous metals, 47 tons of mixed paper, 42 tons of mixed plastics, and nearly 17 tons of corrugated boxes. In addition, the company recycled the oil from its vehicle oil filters and 100 percent of the aerosol cans it collected. The utility also spent a total of $721,369 on recycled-content products, including 1,043 retread tires, plastic piping, carpeting, remanufactured furniture, paper wipes, and bill envelopes.

In addition to winning the 2002 Climate Change WasteWise Partner of the Year award, Constellation Energy Group’s (CEG’s) waste reduction program saved the company $1.3 million in 2001. Through reusing, reducing, and recycling, CEG avoided disposal costs of more than $500,000 and avoided purchasing costs of $800,000.

One example of this successful waste reduction is the group’s ongoing electronics program. In 2001, Constellation collected and donated 31 tons of computers and recycled an additional 1,000 tons of metal from electronics.

CEG also advanced its paper reduction and recycling programs. The company converted many publications to electronic formats and made them available on the company’s Intranet in 2001, including the employee handbook, the daily cafeteria menu, and corporate policies. CEG also collected 280 tons of paper for recycling and purchased many paper items containing recycled material.

Great River Energy

Great River Energy understands the value of coal combustion byproducts, such as fly ash and bottom ash. Not only does Great River Energy use or sell much of its ash material rather than disposing of it, but it also works to expand the market for fly ash and create markets for bottom ash. In 2005, the company partnered with Headwaters, Inc. to create a $27 million infrastructure, increasing the sale and use of fly ash, which is used in concrete production and for soil stabilization. In 2005, Great River Energy sold more than 400,000 tons of fly ash for these purposes.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)

A Charter Partner of WasteWise, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) began a food waste composting program for employees at its corporate headquarters general office complex in 2005. In addition, PG&E closes the loop with the plant trimmings from its general office complex landscaping—composting the material and then putting that same compost back into other onsite landscaping activities. At PG&E’s Pacific Energy Center, located a few blocks away, food waste is collected and used as fertilizer for local farms and gardens. In addition to composting, PG&E uses biodegradable products including cups, plates, coffee stirrers, and toothpicks to serve refreshments for events and meetings at the center.


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