ELYRIA, Ohio — From eliminating single-use plastic to planting a community garden and attending workshops on reducing waste, Bendix employees are learning how to live and work more sustainability.
Across North America this month, more than 2,500 Bendix men and women are taking part in educational and volunteer opportunities to tackle one major goal: eliminating waste.
Their activities are happening in conjunction with the annual Knorr-Bremse/Bendix Values Day and are taking place throughout July. This year’s efforts focus on fulfilling the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.
The UN’s SDGs are a set of objectives to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, according to Maria Gutierrez, Bendix director of corporate responsibility and sustainability.
As a global company and part of the international community, Bendix aims to positively contribute to all the SDGs, with a particular focus on SDG 12 and SDG 13 (Climate Action) through its long-standing corporate sustainability strategy, Gutierrez said. For Values Day 2019, Bendix employees throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are working toward reducing waste in their workplace and homes.
The Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse Group (KB) – the world’s preeminent manufacturer of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles – is the parent company of Bendix, the North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking solutions for commercial vehicles.
“Every Values Day, our team members demonstrate their passion and commitment to Bendix’s core values and the values we share with our KB colleagues around the globe,” Gutierrez said. “As we drive to become landfill-free, our 2019 celebration provides a unique opportunity to ensure our workforce has the knowledge and resources needed to help reduce waste. Their efforts to implement green solutions are critical to the success of Bendix’s zero-waste initiative.”
On July 10, nearly 600 employees who work at Bendix’s Elyria headquarters gathered to celebrate Values Day. Throughout the day, they learned from visiting experts, put themselves to the test with zero-waste competitions, and planted a community garden.
The day began with a panel of speakers from three local, sustainably focused companies. These entrepreneurs raised awareness among Bendix employees on a range of topics, including food waste, composting, and responsible water consumption.
After the panel, 30 employees worked together to plant a community garden consisting of flowers, herbs, berries, and vegetables. The garden will be overseen by the Bendix Elyria Green Team – a group of employees focused on zero-waste goals. Members will care for the garden and donate the proceeds to local nonprofits.
Other employees participated in the “Escape the Waste” team challenge. In the activity, inspired by popular “escape room” games, teams of eight solved clues to unlock a zero-waste kit, which would help them live sustainable lives. This game helped educate participants on zero-waste programs currently implemented at Bendix and raised awareness on ways to help employees reduce waste in their personal lives as well.
The day concluded with a Sustainability Fair, where both internal and external vendors provided insight on being eco-conscious. To encourage employees to commit to eliminating waste, a Sustainable Living Pledge was created for those who promised to “say goodbye” to plastic straws, plastic bags, plastic water bottles, and Styrofoam. After signing the pledge, each employee had a chance to dunk one of the company’s leaders by taking a toss at the Bendix Leadership Dunk Tank.
As a company, Bendix also pledged to eliminate waste by banning certain items. The bans – which are now corporate policy – include Styrofoam, single-use plastic bottles, and single-use plastic utensils. All Bendix locations agreed not to purchase, procure, or utilize any of these items at their locations or at off-site events. This is part of the zero-waste initiative to eliminate not only industrial waste, but general food and office waste as well.
“Through a combination of Bendix’s company-led initiatives and employee engagement, we are striving to become a zero-waste company,” Gutierrez said. “By reducing our impact on the environment, we hope to leave a greener, healthier planet for our communities and for people around the world. We are committed to investing the time and effort necessary to be landfill-free in Elyria and at every Bendix location across North America.”
Bendix strives to be a responsible corporate citizen by working toward its goal to be zero-waste, Gutierrez said, adding that by diverting industrial and general waste, the company aims to be 100 percent landfill-free by 2020. In 2018, Bendix moved closer to this goal by diverting 96 percent (over 25.5 million pounds) of material waste from landfill disposal. As part of the initial steps in the Zero Landfill strategy, the company focused solely on industrial waste. Currently, nine out of 10 Bendix manufacturing facilities are industrial-waste landfill-free. Now, efforts are focused on reduction and diversion from landfill for all remaining waste streams, including general trash and cafeteria waste.
More than 1,100 miles away in Acuña, Mexico, Bendix employees will have an opportunity to participate in either the Waste Workshop or the Organic Orchard and Fertilizer Workshop later this month. To help reduce waste of plastic bags, each participant will receive a reusable bag for grocery shopping or material collection/recycling.
Employees at Bendix’s Huntington, Indiana, campus learned more about SDG 12 and the zero-waste-to-landfill goal with a presentation during a company lunch.
To leave their community a little better, volunteers at Bendix’s Kalamazoo, Michigan, facility will work at a Habitat for Humanity home build. Habitat for Humanity practices waste reduction at each of their building sites and diverts usable material from ending up in landfill through its Habitat ReStore. In Mexico City, Mexico, Bendix volunteers spent a day constructing vertical gardens with repurposed plastic bottles under the tutelage of the teenagers at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage in Miacatlán.
Later this month, at the company’s facility in Irvine, California, company volunteers will focus on recycling plastic water bottles. Employees in Monterrey, Mexico, will help in urban reforestation efforts by planting trees. In North Aurora, Illinois; Lebanon, Tennessee; Vancouver, Canada; and Montreal, Canada, Bendix team members enjoyed company lunches while watching presentations on the SDGs and sustainability.
“Our Values Day efforts show not only our employees’ desire to make a positive impact – but their eagerness to learn more about living sustainably as well,” Gutierrez said. “They have gone out of their way to implement zero-waste strategies not only in their work, but also in their communities and homes. We are very proud that our team members display such passion and dedication to the effort of eliminating waste.”