At Bell Helicopter, we recognize the importance of minimizing our environmental impact and we are committed to reducing our footprint and environmental performance around the world. We’re integrating sustainability concepts into everything we do.
Our Single-Stream Recycling Program allows for the implementation of office paper, cardboard, metal cans, plastic bottles and other recyclables in a one-bin collection system. From the green desk side recycling bins to the green shop floor metal recycling bins to the green compactors which take the recycling to the MRF (Material Resource Facility), Single-Stream recycling diverts between 2 and 3 tons per day of our previous landfill waste. It is a major part of our recycling efforts and is the most visible part of the Sustainability program efforts for individual team members across Bell Helicopter and in the community.
The Single Stream Recycling Program covers the obvious recyclable materials: all paper products, aluminum, plastic, steel and tin. Although these materials contribute to a significant portion of the total waste of Bell Helicopter, there are other materials, such as wood, that cannot be collected through this process.
Bell Helicopter uses wooden crates, typically used once and disposed of, to transport and protect helicopter parts from plant to plant, but why can’t they be reused? They can! Bell Helicopter builds the crates according to production. Once a part is received, it is added to another part, altering the weight and size and requiring a new wooden crate. Recycling this wood became a high priority for the company. The wood is taken to various vendors who convert the boxes to mulch for the community. In 2012 Bell redirected 646 tons of wood from the landfill – that’s the weight of 424 Toyota Prius cars!
A few sturdy crates formerly sent to landfill or recycled are being donated to a local charity that converts them to dog houses. Bell Helicopter also sends unusable pallets to a local company where they break down the pallets to create new ones and recycles plastic drums and sand blast material.
While Bell Helicopter has significantly upped its game in taking control over what happens to the waste it creates, the company also needed to face the bigger challenge – controlling materials purchased. Bell now procures products created by recycled material, including brown paper towels for bathrooms, recycled paper for printers and copiers, and cardboard boxes with increased recycled content for shipment of parts to customers and the previously mentioned sourced metals with recycled content. Through these efforts, Bell Helicopter is supporting green purchasing, increasing the value and demand for recycled materials, and also benefitting from a cost reduction.
As of 2013, Bell Helicopter plants divert 63% waste previously sent to the landfill due to Single-Stream Recycling and other recycling streams.
Sustainability and energy efficiency were forefront in the design of our new global headquarters building. This 230,000 square foot facility reduced our operational footprint by 38 percent. Recycled and sustainably harvested materials were used in construction, including fly-ash content in all the cement used for floor decks, roof, drive areas, and support structural elements. Energy efficiency was also a high priority. Dual-pane windows, LED lighting, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems and a reflective membrane on the roof all help to conserve energy. The building features high-efficiency, double paned windows that allow for maximum natural lighting. Overall energy efficiency of the building is improved by 11% over typical energy use in an office building. Across the Fort Worth campus, the company has reduced electricity usage by an amount equal to 5,000 single-family homes, and reduced its water usage by 14 million gallons.
As a result, the facility was recently granted a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver designation from the U.S. Green Building Council — which is only the third building in Fort Worth to achieve that designation. This certification recognizes Bell Helicopter’s implementation of corporate sustainable practices including facility construction, renovations and operations, waste, energy, and water use reductions, employee alternative commuting options, and innovative practices.