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Microsoft HQ Achieves Zero Waste Certification

Dec. 21, 2016

How the tech giant met its lofty diversion goal.

Diverting 90% of its waste from landfills and incineration earned the Zero Waste Facility Certification at the Gold level for Microsoft’s global headquarters in Redmond, WA.

The campus encompasses 125 buildings housing more than 44,000 employees who participate in reducing, reusing, recycling and composting “at an unprecedented rate,” according to GBCI, which administers the Zero Waste Facility certification program. Microsoft’s successful waste mitigation strategies include:

  • Smart sorting: Waste is sorted to maximize recycling and composting. This step alone diverts about 87% of the campus’s waste from landfills.
  • Sustainable farming: Hydroponic towers in campus cafes grow lettuce and microgreens for campus chefs. The grow towers are not only visually appealing, but also water-efficient – they use up to 90% less water than conventional farming methods.
  • Café conservation goals: The Redmond campus diverts 99.5% of food, packaging and other dining-related waste from the landfill across 33 cafes, 32 espresso cafes and more than 500 kitchenettes.
  • Office supply reuse: A wide-ranging reuse program helps extend the life of office supplies, furnishings and computer equipment. People on campus use an on-site and online store to locate surplus binders, power cords, laptops and whiteboards so that nothing is thrown away prematurely. Furniture is repaired and reused whenever possible and is frequently donated to nonprofits through a global furniture reuse program.

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