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I was also starting this new job within Signify on the 3D Printing team where during the interview and presentations I watched, the division talk strongly about its role in improving the circular economy. My green, tree-hugging-hippie, side loved this fact. A 3D Signify printed luminaire has a 47% - 75% lower carbon footprint than one that’s manufactured in the traditional way. It can be printed in our Pennsylvania factory and ship it straight to a domestic customer in record time. In a traditional manufacturing process, the components might be made in China, sent by sea freight to Mexico for assembly, then delivered by truck to a distribution center to sit in stock until it is ordered. With 3D printing, we don’t need to do any of that. Everything is made to order, produced and shipped locally with minimal components and parts. This also means less inventory in warehouses.
Signify has perfected this highly flexible, more sustainable form of manufacturing. Using a 100% recyclable polycarbonate material, which allows luminaires to be designed or tailored to customer’s exact needs and recycled at the end of their life. This sustainable form of manufacturing supports our efforts in being a carbon neutral company which we officially achieved in 2020 as well as helps our customers in their efforts to be more sustainable. I know this may sound pretentious, but the fact that we can do this as a global leader in lighting, really inspired me to try to make an impact personally.
How did my sustainability resolution go?
In March I was surprised at the number of plastic bags I started to collect from just things I purchased at the grocery store. Bags and plastic from Bread. Salad. Lemons. Carrots. Cereal. The amount that I collected after 3 months was shocking. Though these cannot be recycled, I found new uses for some of them: Pet waste bags!
By June my bestie thought I was nuts when we went shopping for the first-time sans Covid19 lockdown and I bought a hoodie made out of recycled water bottles at Banana Republic. When I told her months later that they extended this line to sweaters she rolled her eyes and said I needed help.
In August, I told a lighting design group from Seattle that I was part of this new division of Signify that 3D prints lighting fixtures. I told them that part of the job that intrigued me was the sustainable portion of the products. Seeing a “he’s-a-coproate-congulmate-marketer-of-course-he’s-going-to-say-that” look in one of their Zoom faces - I shared what I was doing for my “2020 Sustainable Resolution” that my husband was now considering divorce because when moving something in the garage and a bags of used spay cleaner inserts impaled him.
By November I wondered what was the percentage for my trash vs recycling. I didn’t bring out the trash and recycling for 3 weeks. (A Veterans Day and Thanksgiving holiday, where trash removal day was delayed a day, along with my out of sync memory may have also helped.) I was amazed. My recycling was double that of my trash. One bag of trash per week for a somewhat active couple made me think: How much less trash would I have if I started composting?
At the end of the year, my key learnings…
As 2020 came to a close I thought it would be a good time to sort my deodorant containers from toothpaste tubes and separate all the black plastic (Black plastic cannot be recycled easily) and plastic containers that did not have a recycling logo (like those fancy looking night moisturizing cream containers) and prepare for my TerraCycle drop off. As I was sorting, it became apparent that I ordered allot of take out in 2020 but here are a few other findings:
In the end I learned, a Zero Waste household could be easily done. It just takes a dedicated space, sorting, being mindful and having a spouse who doesn’t ask too many questions or joins you on that journey. Will I be doing this again for 2021? You better believe your Styrofoam abstract art I am!
For more information on 3D Printing our sustainability effort please visit: https://www.tailored.lighting.philips.com/en/us/
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