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Zero-Waste Culture and Reduced Energy Consumption Led the Way for Bendix Sustainability Wins in 2020

Date: March 8, 2021
Source: Press Release from Bendix

Even during a global pandemic, Bendix achieved a series of wins toward its 2020 sustainability goals, reducing its energy consumption more than 14 million kilowatt-hours over the last six years and diverting 99.9% of its waste from landfill.

Another major success story for Bendix in 2020 was sending fewer than 16 tons of material company-wide to landfill, realizing a 97% decrease from the 508 tons of material that were landfilled in 2019. The remaining 10,965 tons of excess or spent materials were either diverted, recycled, or reused.

Yet another environmental accolade in 2020 was that nine Bendix manufacturing locations, plus the Elyria corporate headquarters, achieved the company’s official Zero Waste to Landfill Certification.

The sustainability successes achieved during 2020 capitalized on increasing waste diversion and energy efficiency across the Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC (Bendix) North American facilities. The effort also included conducting a baseline study of the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc., which was acquired mid-year 2020. Bendix continues its focus on both areas in connection with its deep alignment and ongoing support of the United Nations’ (UN) ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 overarching environmental objectives adopted by UN member states promote prosperity while protecting the environment. Two of the objectives – Responsible Consumption and Production (encompassed within SDG 12) and Climate Action (the focus of SDG 13) – are central to Bendix’s sustainability efforts.

“Even during a year when many activities had to be modified, curtailed, or held remotely, our team members stayed true to our sustainability missions and to our overall energy strategy,” said Maria Gutierrez, director of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “Following up on a stellar year in 2019, Bendix employees continued to embrace our sustainability goals in 2020, whether that meant reducing nonindustrial waste streams, increasing energy efficiency, or pursuing new approaches to reducing our carbon footprint. Ultimately, seeing these results, we’re once again proud and honored to celebrate these remarkable achievements.”

Achieving Zero Waste to Landfill

The company reached a major sustainability milestone in 2020 by achieving its zerowaste-to-landfill objective at nine Bendix manufacturing sites within the network of manufacturing campuses, as well as the Elyria corporate headquarters.

As of late October 2020, the corporate headquarters and all but two Bendix manufacturing sites and the recently acquired Sheppard sites had achieved the company’s official Zero Waste to Landfill Certification. The program centers around a detailed selfcertification process, whereby each location must meet eight major requirements related to waste management, waste diversion, and continuous improvement to verify that the site is diverting 100% of its waste from being landfilled.

“Achieving the certification means the sites are consistently diverting 100% of both industrial and nonindustrial wastes, through recovery, recycling, composting, or another diversion method or technology, including waste-to-energy,” said Bill Schubert, Bendix corporate manager, environmental and sustainability. “Our approach is built on a hierarchy that calls for each location to first eliminate, then reduce, reuse, recycle, and reclaim – and as a final option when these strategies are not available, to utilize waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies or incineration.”

Each location used a combination of multiple technologies, processes, and cultural changes that are in place across Bendix to drive reduction or elimination of wastes and achieve the certification. These included implementing the company’s Sustainable Food Service Policy by eliminating plastic water bottles and Styrofoam products; launching new processes, such as centralized waste collection and spent material audits (aka dumpster dives); and utilizing new or innovative technologies, such as WTE technologies, a composting program, and the use of food waste digesters.

For example, the Acuña, Mexico, manufacturing campus implemented food waste digesters at cafeterias in three of its plants in late 2019. In their first full year of operation, these food waste digesters helped divert 33 tons of organic food waste from landfill in 2020.

The company credits its strong Environmental Management System and corporate values as key contributors in developing and achieving the zero-waste program. Begun in 2010, Bendix’s evolving waste management process and ISO 14001 certifications have helped provide the framework for continuous improvement.

Raising Awareness of Energy Efficiency

Efforts initiated by the company’s Green Teams also helped to create awareness and raise participation levels in Bendix’s 2020 sustainability programs. Even during the pandemic, these employee-led teams, charged with identifying or coordinating “green” projects, continued to sponsor activities to help increase awareness both on and off the job. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, in 2020, Bendix’s Green Teams developed remote employee engagement activities, such as an art contest to commemorate Earth Day and the implementation of Family Home Energy Efficiency Audits.

As in prior years, Bendix was honored for its comprehensive and innovative sustainability efforts during 2020. In April, Bendix was recognized by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency with a Silver-level “Encouraging Environmental Excellence Award” for its exceptional achievements in environmental stewardship.

And Bendix’s Bowling Green, Kentucky, manufacturing facility, which had received the U.S. Department of Energy’s ISO 50001 Ready recognition in October 2019, successfully renewed status in September 2020. The program recognizes facilities and organizations that establish ISO 50001-based energy management systems.

Pursuing a Smaller Carbon Footprint

The company also continued its mission to reduce both energy consumption and CO2 emissions during 2020, in support of SDG 13. A prime example is the recently expanded Bowling Green facility, built in keeping with a sustainable design that complies with green building guidelines. Specific measures implemented in the project include submetering of energy for heavy energy users; the use of energy-efficient equipment and lighting; storm water quality stations; roofing designed to minimize solar heat gain; and the management of construction debris to minimize the transport of materials.

Together, these measures, combined with Bendix’s zero-waste plan, constitute major contributions to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 toward Responsible Consumption and Production.

Thanks to these programs, the company has saved more than 14.1 million kilowatthours of energy from projects implemented since 2015, equating to a 23% reduction in energy consumption compared to the 2014 baseline and more than $1 million in utility savings over that time frame.

Moving forward, Bendix will accelerate its plans by striving for absolute reductions of energy consumption rather than simple reductions in energy intensity. With these measures, the company hopes to be carbon neutral by 2050 and to achieve a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Bendix will do this through continued energy efficiency projects, the use of on-site renewable energy, and by procuring green energy in the market.

To that end, the company is planning a major solar energy project at Plant 1 in Huntington, Indiana. The 1.5MW solar array, expected to be operational in August 2021, will produce more than 30% of the site's electricity requirements and is expected to deliver an estimated $140,000 in electric utility savings annually.

“Taking a creative approach to addressing challenging wastes and improving energy efficiency remained a key theme for Bendix during all of 2020, and our efforts certainly paid off,” Gutierrez said. “Achieving zero-waste across all but two of our manufacturing locations is a remarkable accomplishment. And we’re just as proud of our energy efficiency achievements that helped us save more than 14 million kilowatts of energy. Now, we’re focused on the next steps of our long-term energy plans, which are just as exciting.”

About Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a member of Knorr-Bremse, develops and supplies leading-edge active safety technologies, energy management solutions, and air brake charging and control systems and components under the Bendix® brand name for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, tractors, trailers, buses, and other commercial vehicles throughout North America. An industry pioneer, employing more than 4,100 people, Bendix – and its wholly owned subsidiary, R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc. – is driven to deliver the best solutions for improved vehicle safety, performance, and overall operating cost. Contact us at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE (1-800-247-2725) or visit Stay connected and informed through Bendix expert podcasts, blog posts, videos, and other resources at Follow Bendix on Twitter at Log on and learn from the Bendix experts at And to learn more about career opportunities at Bendix, visit

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