CyrusOne News and Blog

Zero-waste recycling effort begins with San Antonio pilot

January 5, 2023

CyrusOne has launched a zero-waste recycling pilot at its San Antonio campus in partnership with GBCI’s TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) zero waste certification program.

TRUE helps facilities define, pursue and achieve zero waste goals, reduce carbon footprint and support public health, according to GBCI, the world’s leading sustainability and health certification and credentialing body. With TRUE, CyrusOne has a partner that offers expertise and advice to establish a complete recycling system and a way to accurately measure progress with third-party certification. TRUE certification comes only from meeting an average of 90% or greater overall waste diversion over a one-year period and by implementing minimum program requirements within the TRUE Rating System.

Though still in its infancy, we estimate the program will help us divert >100 tons of waste annually from landfills in San Antonio alone. This includes recycling everything from wooden pallets, servers and other technology equipment, to cardboard, large wooden cable spools, metal wrapping, boxes and more.

But it’s not as easy as one might think. Recycling is expensive and requires careful planning and logistics to find the right services or vendors that can recycle each unique material, such as wood or metal, and haul it away for appropriate processing to ensure materials are broken down in an environmentally responsible way.

Consider the wooden pallets. Each has metal nails or screws that must be removed before they can be safely broken down and recycled. Stacking them up and storing them prior to recycling also presents a fire hazard and other safety issues that must be addressed. Then, we must find the right service that accepts wooden pallets and can haul them away for processing. And each of our data center locations has different service providers that serve that specific geographical area.

Cost is also another challenge, and one we took head on in our pilot. Even a full dumpster contains a certain amount of air or space between the items within. But the cost to haul remains the same in these large, heavy dumpsters. So, we have deployed smaller dumpsters to cut wasted space, save money, lessen our carbon footprint (smaller, less heavy dumpsters require less energy and fewer trucks to haul) and help offset the incremental recycling costs.

We have also been able to remove the many small, individual waste containers and recycling bins within our facilities and encouraged our colleagues to place recyclables and waste directly into the dumpsters. And we have donated 50 baskets to Habitat for Humanity

In these ways, we get closer to cost neutrality in this zero-waste recycling pilot.

During the pilot, we have been reminded of just how much our sustainability efforts in recycling are a true collaboration with our customers, vendors and service providers. We actively encourage them all to join our program and put all their recyclable waste in the appropriate recycling containers or recycle their waste at their own sites. Without their participation, the impact is not nearly as great as it could and should be.

In coming months, we look forward to sharing how much waste the San Antonio pilot has diverted from landfills and how we will expand the zero-waste pilot across our portfolio.

But in the meantime, we recently reported the early results of our e-waste recycling program with AIT Recycling Solutions. This company-wide, no-cost comprehensive electronic recycling and data destruction program has picked up more than 33,000 lbs. of recyclable materials. Read more here.