ACUNA, MEXICO — Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems is a global manufacturing and engineering company that manufactures automotive brake shoes and systems, vacuum tubes, avionics, aircraft and automobile fuel control systems, radios, televisions, and other home electronics.
Bendix’s campus in Acuña, Mexico consists of four, state-of-the-art facilities and primarily focuses on remanufacturing and OEM production. There are collectively 1500 employees across all four sites.
As business leaders, Bendix holds a strong responsibility to their shareholders, customers, employees, and communities in which they operate. Bendix began looking into implementing zero waste initiatives in 2008. For their business, Bendix believes that zero waste brings value. It helps optimize operations and increase profitability. On a more human level, zero waste helps leave behind a cleaner world for the generations to come.
During a Zero Waste audit in 2017, the sustainability team at Bendix found that most of the waste from the Acuña campus resulted from the kitchen and dining services. They sought to find an environmentally friendly solution that made sense for them. In 2018, Bendix purchased and installed three LFC biodigesters for the facilities in Acuña where they have remained in operation since.
Launching a Corporate Initiative
“Publicly committing to becoming a zero waste company is a bold statement, but one that would ensure that we would be held accountable internally and externally,” said Maria Guitierrez, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. To successfully achieve zero waste, Bendix made the path to sustainability into three short steps.
- Analyze waste data and culture
- Conduct spent material audit
- Execute target programs
The Bendix sustainability team conducted notorious dumpster dives to pull waste and analyze the different components. This forced them to find the root cause of different wastes and creatively confront issues such as food scraps and plastics in their trash.
After conducting the audit, the Bendix management team worked hand in hand with the employees to come up with ideas and working solutions for such programs.
Then, the Bendix sustainability team executed target programs based on key areas of waste. They implemented central waste collection and used the data to serve as the foundation for sustainable policies to eliminate food waste, plastics, and non-compostables. Any successful changes were replicated and standardized across the organization.
Need for a Sustainable Solution
The Bendix campus at Acuña offers full dining services to the 1500 employees. They have a full kitchen and cafeteria, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and third shift meals. On the Acuña site, the Bendix sustainability team found that a majority of their waste was organic waste that resulted from food preparation. The Acuña campus was unable to recycle and reuse this organic waste as animal feed. Additionally, the remote campus site meant that transporting food waste to composting facilities would be expensive, time consuming, and inefficient.
The most economically sound solution was an onsite biodigester that would help convert the food waste into water that could be safely disposed of into the sewage system. In 2018, Bendix purchased and installed an LFC biodigester for the Acuña campus dining facility. Later that year, they purchased two additional biodigesters for their other facilities.
In their first full year of operation, the LFC biodigesters helped divert 33 tons of organic food waste from landfill in 2020.
“We found that the LFC biodigesters were remarkably easy to install and use, so existing staff needed little training,” said Luis Quinones, Corporate Sustainability Engineer at Bendix. “We needed help from Power Knot to get them hooked up to the LFC Cloud, but now we can easily see what the machines are doing and create reports about our sustainability.”
Operating through a Pandemic
Bendix was classified as an essential business in 2020 and remained operational through the COVID-19 pandemic. The kitchens also remained open. To comply with safety regulations, all employees became responsible for their own food waste. The dishwashing station was closed down and non-reusable styrofoam was used. The LFC biodigester maintained operations during this time to help keep a sterile environment and safely dispose of food waste.
To date, the three LFC biodigesters on Bendix’s Acuña campuses remain in full operation and in compliance with local government ordinances and corporate sustainability goals. From designing products for remanufacture to conducting internal waste audits and developing sustainable policies, Bendix has shown an incredible commitment to sustainability. Even during a global pandemic, Bendix achieved a series of wins toward its 2020 sustainability goals and successfully diverted 99.9% of its waste from landfill.
About Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems is a global manufacturing and engineering company that manufactures automotive brake shoes and systems, vacuum tubes, avionics, aircraft and automobile fuel control systems, radios, televisions, and other home electronics.