The ISO 14001 environmental management system provides the framework for enhancing – and achieving – effective and sustainable administrative and manufacturing processes. As an ISO 14001/certified company, every department within VAT follows the ISO 14001:2015 guidelines.

“VAT is well-known for innovative, high-quality products,” says Heinz Märkli, VAT Environmental Program Manager. “And it is also a leader in sustainability efforts. Also, the VAT Board of Directors launched a global ‘Sustainable Manufacturing’ initiative that focuses on creating sustainable manufacturing processes as well as enhancing workplace safety, ongoing training for environmental awareness, reducing energy consumption, reduction and elimination of toxic substances, and, last but not least, optimizing our recycling efforts.”

Working with Our Suppliers

A key part of any recycling program is avoiding waste before it happens. The waste prevention program at VAT includes paperless product assembly and the redesign and elimination of any unnecessary packaging materials, reduction in energy consumption and how we work with suppliers. VAT offers preferential treatment to suppliers of products and services who follow the environmental and safety principles defined by the ISO 14001 guidelines.

“A recent success was the introduction of reusable shipping containers to transport KABAN-parts between the suppliers and VAT manufacturing sites,” says Heinz Märkli.

Recycling Everything

In terms of recycling programs, the list below shows what materials are recycled at VAT:

  • Metals (stainless steel, steel, aluminum, brass, copper, etc.)
  • Glass (containers, fluorescent tubes, etc.)
  • Logistics/office waste (paper, plastic, cardboard, wood, coffee cups, etc.)
  • Electronic waste (batteries, electrical devices, PCs, monitors, etc.)
  • Hazardous materials (solvents, lubricants, VeVA-specified materials, etc.)
  • Paper & Cardboard
  • PET bottles, wood

Recycling Translates into Cost Savings

As part of an environmental audit, the VAT Facility Management team recently published the results of recycling efforts at both the Haag, Switzerland and Penang, Malaysia facilities.

Haag, Switzerland:

  • Metal shavings and metal briquettes – 1,213 tons/year 2020
  • PET bottles, wood and sorted paper
  • Residual waste/Logistics/office materials – 352 tons/year 2020
  • Electronic waste, glass & hazardous materials – 60 tons
  • Sorted Paper – 19 tons
  • Cardboard - 0.8 tons

Penang, Malaysia:

  • Metal shavings(chips) and metal briquettes – 621 tons/year
  • Hazardous materials (wastewater, waste lubricant, hydraulic oil, and coolant) – 1.2 tons/year
  • PET bottles, wood and sorted paper
  • Cardboard

While VAT provides the necessary personal and monetary resources to maintain the recycling programs, the cost savings from the re-use of materials is also substantial: the resale of metal chips and metal briquettes netted over CHF 65,000 (US$ 71,000) at the Haag facility alone last year.

“The effectiveness of our VAT recycling initiative is already better than the national average in Switzerland, a country with the world’s highest rate of recycling,” summarizes Heinz Märkli. “Our current efforts at our plant in Penang, Malaysia shows that a coordinated effort can be successful around the world.”