Materials and waste

Materials and waste

Even though waste is a relatively small part of our overall environmental footprint, we recognize the importance of reducing waste as way to engage our people in tangible and visible environmental improvements. Because paper, cups, computers, and phones are part of our work and are things we interact with every day, we have put in place a wide range of programs to encourage our people to change their behaviors to minimize the impacts of these everyday office items. By promoting the “reduce, reuse, recycle” approach, all our employees can be part of the solution.


Examples of our material- and waste-reduction efforts include:

Print Smart – In FY10 we rebuilt our approach to printing by applying a managed print services solution. This program, Print Smart, has the goal of reducing our number of printers from over 4,500 to under 2,500, which we project will save 19% of the energy related to printing. In addition, we set the printers to duplex (double-sided) printing as the default. This step alone has reduced our paper use by 17%.

Reusable cups – Launched in 2010, PwC’s reusable cup initiative has resulted in a 27% reduction in disposable cup use in FY11 compared to FY10, saving 1.4 million cups. Many offices also offer reusable cups to those staff who pledge to use them rather than a paper cup.

Smart Call – We offer staff an opportunity to recycle their old phones, batteries, and other PwC and non-PwC electronics. Our recycling partner pays us for these items, resells what it can, and recycles or responsibly disposes of the remainder. The proceeds from this program are donated to our PwC Foundation.

Computer reuse and recycling – We partner with a technology return company to handle the many laptops, desktop computers, and monitors we use. At the end of their useful life, the return company ensures that hard drives are scrubbed or destroyed and materials are remanufactured as appropriate. This process ensures the greatest financial and environmental return on investment in these critical pieces of equipment.

File Clean-Up Week – Each year we conduct a firm-wide event, File Clean-Up Week. This is an effort to ensure that all old materials are both securely disposed of (shredded) and recycled. Through this effort, we recycled 180 tons of materials in FY11.