Along with Intel’s passion for innovation, our founders instilled a strong commitment to environmental responsibility. We continuously strive to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions, and conserve resources throughout our operations. Intel has a decades-long legacy of pursuing sustainability through environmentally responsible operations and innovative technology solutions.
Intel has set a goal to recycle 90% of its non-hazardous waste and divert all hazardous waste from landfills by 2020, and since 2008, we have recycled 75% of the total waste generated from our operations. As part of our waste management strategy, we work to up-cycle our waste material, moving beyond incineration and landfill to recycle, recover, and reuse. Finding value in waste material helps to reduce our environmental footprint, potentially reduce costs over time, and even generate revenue.
This case study explores various efforts that have been employed to reach Intel’s environmental goals. In particular we developed an up-cycle opportunity for the following previously “waste” products;
- Copper Reclaim and Reuse
- PFA Remanufactured
- Ammonium Sulfate
- Solvent Reclaim
The semiconductor manufacturing process requires the use of ammonium for cleaning. Waste ammonium is treated through a combination of air scrubbers and water treatment, producing ammonium sulfate, a non-hazardous byproduct. In 2013, ammonium sulfate from U.S. sites was directed to fertilizer manufacturers and used for enhancing alkaline soils. By finding a valuable market use for our domestic ammonium sulfate, as opposed to sending for treatment and subsequent landfill, we upcycled the waste, creating a feedstock that enters the circular economy, eliminating waste and reducing our disposal costs by more than 50%.
Semiconductor manufacturing uses solvents extensively in the patterning process. In 2016, our engineers worked with one of our chemical waste suppliers to capture, recover, and sell over 650 tons of a valuable solvent from our mixed solvent waste. Through detailed analysis of the constituents in the solvent waste stream and understanding its value, we continue to minimize waste disposal costs while enabling other markets to use our solvents as feedstock in lieu of purchasing raw ingredients.
- Identifying where waste product can be converted into an add-value opportunity and working with our supply chain to enable the opportunities.
Exploring novel ways to manage waste is not new to Intel, and with the help of our employees and partners, we collectively work to achieve our 2020 goal and significantly contribute to the circular economy by reducing waste, increasing recovery, and creating add value and new supply chains, while helping to decrease the extraction of virgin materials.