Managers and employees at every level are responsible and accountable for our overall environmental compliance and stewardship. It is the responsibility of every team member to do his or her part to protect our environment by working in compliance with the law, following the policies, practices and procedures established by the company, and by raising any concerns they might have about environmental issues.
Many national and local laws protect the environment from industrial emissions and hazardous substances. These laws differ among different jurisdictions and subject matter. We expect our employees and vendors to respect and comply with these legal protections. In addition, we have an enterprise-wide environmental health and safety policy governing our U.S. operations.
We have relatively limited exposure to environmental risks in our operations. However, we have begun to quantify and disclose our environmental impact along with our efforts to mitigate our environmental impact.
All of our facilities are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as either Very Small Quantity Generators or Small Quantity Generators of hazardous waste, and they are in compliance with and follow all federal, state and (if applicable) local regulations regarding hazardous waste. Among other things, each facility has appropriate storage, handling and disposal procedures, including segregated storage areas, container labeling, recordkeeping and employee training procedures in place.
Our facilities generate electronic waste such as computers, monitors, printers, hard drives and copiers. Due to ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) requirements, and because of proprietary information that may have been stored on some of these devices, certain of our electronic devices must go through a specialized incineration process. Other electronic waste not otherwise deemed restricted are processed by a licensed electronics recycler.
Our facilities handle universal waste onsite. Universal Waste is a general descriptive term used to describe waste that is generated by a large, diverse population. Our main types of universal waste consist of fluorescent lamps and spent batteries. These wastes are processed by a licensed waste hauler and brought to a licensed recycling facility. All Mercury facilities are in compliance with and follow all federal, state and (if applicable) local regulations regarding universal waste.
We recycle varying items on a location specific basis. These items consist of paper, plastic and aluminum, which are used mainly in office and employee break areas. There are varying types of scrap metals from our manufacturing processes that are made available for recycling and reclamation by licensed reclamation facilities. These metals include but are not limited to lead, tin and aluminum and certain precious metals. We are continually seeking more efficient ways to recycle and/or reclaim as many metals and precious metals as possible to avoid disposing of these materials in landfills.
Our energy and water usage at our U.S. facilities for calendar year 2018 is reported below, including our greenhouse gases for scope 1, 2 and 3 as defined by greenhouse gas (GHG) protocol standard.
The emissions calculated in the tables below for our facilities are Scope 2 GHG emissions. Scope 2 GHG emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy such electricity and heat purchased from a utility provider. Currently, none of our facilities is required to report GHG emissions to any governmental agency as the threshold for reporting is 25,000 metric tons.
Investments in IT Systems to Connect Mercury While Reducing Travel
We have made a substantial investment in IT infrastructure as part of our One Mercury effort to connect employees using video conferencing technology, including by Skype video at employee workstations and in conference rooms. This has helped to create a One Mercury atmosphere by team members’ ability to see each other on calls while at the same time reducing the environmental impact of travel between our facilities.