We believe that protection of the environment is a critical business objective. We are committed to the conservation of resources and the minimization of any negative impact our operations and facilities may have on the environment. We will take environmental impact into consideration when making decisions about the materials and services we purchase and are committed to compliance with applicable regulations and standards.
Since embarking on our GreenQuest in 2008, we've found new ways to significantly reduce our environmental footprint, recycle or reuse materials and conserve energy. Our quest to be an environmentally conscious company is a founding vision that continues to this day. We invite you to check back often to learn about new initiatives and green projects that we're implementing in order to fulfill our promise.
Each of our key sites establishes groups of employee volunteers called GreenTeams. These teams work together to brainstorm eco-initiatives and identify specific green projects that will not only have a positive impact on the environment but on our business as a whole. The scope of these projects is only limited by the creativity of our employees. Some embarked on projects to recycle batteries, electronic waste, ink and toner cartridges, and even sneakers, often donating proceeds to local charities. At one site, 75 medical specimen processing centrifuges (in good working order, but no longer useful to us) were donated to Project C.U.R.E., which delivers medical equipment and supplies to developing countries. Whether the initiatives are big or small, our GreenTeams continue to think of new ways to make Earth a better place for all of us to live.
One of the most significant ways that we can positively impact the environment is by rethinking how we work. In 2008, Quest Diagnostics embarked on a system wide conservation effort to reduce energy and water consumption. At the same time, we took steps to cut down on the amount of waste generated by our facilities. We have invested in more efficient heating/cooling equipment and lighting, energy saving insulation and roofs, and motion sensor light switches to save electricity in vacated rooms and offices. We’ve reduced the water we consume both indoors (installed water efficient toilets and faucets) and outside (updated water saving landscaping).
Since 2007, our facilities reduced:
• electricity consumption by 8%
• water consumption by 8%
• garbage generation by 33%
• biohazardous waste generation by 10%
Enterprise Wide Efforts
One enterprise wide effort was to convert paper pay stubs to an electronic self-serve format, forever eliminating the consumption of hundreds of pounds of printing paper and ink, and the resources needed to transport that mail across the country.
Another effort channels all of the company e-waste (computers, printers, monitors etc.) through our primary computer vendor for proper recycling. Even the simple idea of replacing manual paper towel dispensers in our bathrooms with electronic models yielded significant savings and reduced waste by 4400 lbs. of paper a year. That's equivalent to 37 trees not being harvested.
With a nation-wide ground fleet as part of our transportation infrastructure, significant effort has been placed on reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Selecting more fuel efficient vehicles and utilizing route optimization software to improve our routes has reduced our fleet fuel use by 1.8 million gallons since 2007, averting more than 16 thousand metric tonnes of CO2 emissions. These efforts have not gone unnoticed. Quest Diagnostics ground fleet has been certified three consecutive years as a Four-Star Evergreen Fleet by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, an organization within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Coalition.
Ride Share Program
In order to improve our environmental footprint, we're not only looking at how we work, but how we commute to work. In 2009, we launched an interactive application to our GreenQuest employee website. This new feature allows employees of Quest Diagnostics to connect with other employees in their community and coordinate ride-share opportunities. By simply sharing a ride with one other person our employees can save up to 50% in car maintenance, repair, tolls and parking costs. What's more, for every gallon of gas they save, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide are prevented from reaching the atmosphere.