Recycling of Scrap Cable | Sustainability | Corning

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Environmental Protection

Environmental Protection

Environmental Protection

Recycling of Scrap Cable

Recycling of Scrap Cable

A recycling project to keep scrap optical-fiber cable from landfills made great progress in its first two years of implementation, team members told environmental leaders and managers during the annual North American conference for Corporate Environmental Controls (CEC).

The project team began meeting in June 2015 and moved quickly to find a recycling opportunity for the cable due to the rising costs of landfilling these materials, according to the project leader from Global Supply Management, the strategic sourcing manager for Resins, Americas.

Corning employees from every discipline engaged to develop a commercial cable recycle process in less than six months, which resulted in a commercially viable process to recycle scrap cable.

The cable is primarily composed of plastic, metal, and optical-fiber glass.  The scrap cable has to be broken down into its separate components to be recycled. The result is almost always zero going to the landfill.

A third-party, contracted vendor is beginning to recycle the cable, which is manufactured in Optical Communication plants in North Carolina (Winston Salem and HTMC) and Mexico (Reynosa RCC and RAM), as well as in facilities in Europe and China. The vendor separates the cable from the glass optical fibers; the glass for potential reuse as substrate; the plastic is re-ground, re-melted, and re-sold.

The recycling project is part of the company's efforts to increase environmental awareness and develop sustainable waste solutions, including zero-landfill initiative that began last year. The zero-landfill initiative provides comparable data to facilities worldwide regarding their level of landfill use, leading plant leaders to develop plans to improve their landfill diversion performance. The company wants to see significant progress towards being landfill-free over time.