Microsoft First Technology Company Awarded Zero Waste Facility Certification

Published on: 
28 Nov 2016
Marisa Long

Microsoft diverts 90 percent waste from its global headquarters, home to more than 44,000 employees

Washington, D.C.—(Nov. 28, 2016)—GBCI announced today that Microsoft has achieved Zero Waste Facility Certification at the Gold level at its global headquarters in Redmond, Washington, where more than 44,000 employees work in 125 buildings. Through the certification, Microsoft is helping to protect the environment by diverting 90 percent of its waste from its headquarters from landfills and incineration.

GBCI audited the zero waste diversion processes at Microsoft and found the facility is successfully reducing, reusing, recycling and composting at an unprecedented rate.

“Companies pursuing Zero Waste Facility Certification must meet very stringent standards in order to achieve Gold certification,” said Stephanie Barger, director of market development at GBCI. “Microsoft has demonstrated not only tremendous leadership in successfully implementing zero waste strategies, but also an inspiring commitment to achieve still higher levels of performance.” 

The goal of businesses participating in the Zero Waste Facility Certification program is to divert all end-use material from landfill, incineration and the environment, while achieving a minimum of 90 percent diversion.

“Protecting the environment is something that Microsoft and our employees believe in strongly. We are grateful for this recognition by GBCI and look forward to building on our work to reduce waste at our Redmond headquarters," stated Susan Wagner, senior director of Microsoft Real Estate and Facilities.

Though the Microsoft Redmond campus has successfully achieved a high level of certification, there is still more to be accomplished by increasing diversion, implementing upstream policies and achieving total participation from all employees, vendors and customers. By working toward these high-level zero waste objectives, the business manages its resources more efficiently and economically.

To date, Microsoft’s Redmond facility has excelled in the following areas:

  • Sorting of waste to maximize recycling and composting of materials, which equates to about 87 percent of waste on campus that is diverted from landfills.
  • Cultivating sustainable, urban farming methods, such as hydroponic grow towers in cafes that grow lettuce and microgreens used by campus chefs. While the grow towers are visually stunning, they are also efficient—hydroponics use up to 90 percent less water than conventional farming.
  • Achieving impressive sustainability goals across 33 cafés, 32 espresso cafés and more than 500 kitchenettes on campus. Of all the food, packaging and other dining-related waste generated, 99.5 percent is being diverted from landfills.
  • Implementing reuse programs to extend the life of office supplies, furnishings and computer equipment. Items such as surplus binders, power cords, laptops and whiteboards are made available to others around campus via an onsite/online store. In addition, furniture is repaired, reused whenever possible and often donated to nonprofits through a global furniture reuse program.

About Zero Waste Certification

Zero Waste Facility Certification is based on the peer-reviewed, internationally accepted definition of zero waste developed by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA), and has been aligned with credit requirements of LEED for Buildings Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M). Zero Waste Business Associates help implement best practices and measure progress toward achieving zero waste goals and certification. Businesses, organizations and communities that divert more than 90 percent of waste from landfills, incinerators and the environment are considered to be successful in achieving zero waste.