Sustainability: Environmental responsibility: Materials management

TI has long aspired to efficiently use, reuse or recycle materials across its operations. Not only does reducing waste save the company money on custodial and disposal costs, but it also keeps non-biodegradable and other undesirable items out of local landfills. Conservation and recycling activities also remind employees to do their part to protect the environment and facilitate operational efficiency, which improves shareholder value.

We start by simply buying fewer materials, when possible. For example, we implemented a new program in 2012, in which each manufacturing site identified and reduced the use of at least one process chemical. We also encourage wider use of electronic documentation to reduce the amount of paper purchased. In addition, we provide reusable tableware in some cafeterias, among other initiatives, to further reduce the amount of materials purchased and waste generated.

Due to differences in global regulatory programs and available recycling infrastructures, our collection, reuse and disposal programs vary among the countries in which we operate. However, each major production site around the world operates a robust recycling program for industrial and nonindustrial waste. Where practical, our administrative buildings recycle paper, cardboard and aluminum cans, and in some cases, even organic waste.

We encourage all employees to recycle by appointing local sustainability champions, hosting waste and recyclable collections, and through ongoing communications, including maintaining an educational sustainability-focused website. Information is localized so it is relevant to our various locations.

Procurement

We work to maximize the efficiency of the materials we purchase and to reduce environmental impact throughout a product's life cycle by purchasing only what our sites need, sourcing products responsibly, and reusing and recycling materials where possible.

Direct materials, which are used to manufacture our semiconductors and are present in our final products, make up the bulk of our global procurement spending.
The direct materials we purchase include:

  • Silicon:  a silicon wafer is the foundation material on which we create semiconductors.

  • Metals: this includes lids, substrates, sputtering targets and lead frames, which form the skeleton of integrated circuits.

  • Chemicals: this includes protective overcoat and stress buffer films that protect devices during the packaging and encapsulation processes.

  • Packaging materials: this includes materials used in assembly and test processes to house completed semiconductors and to ship final parts – such as mold compounds, bonding wire and die attach.

Other materials we purchase include:

  • Nonrenewable materials: minerals and natural gas.

  • Indirect materials: materials used in our operations that are not present in the final product, such as manufacturing cleansing agents and laptop computers.

  • Packing/shipping materials - such as adhesives, bubble wrap and cardboard.

We outsource the fabrication of our education technology products, which account for less than 5 percent of our revenue.

Recycled waste

Recyclable waste is a byproduct of manufacturing and office activities. In general, recyclable waste includes materials such as paper, glass, plastic and cardboard; organic materials; electronic devices; spent office supplies and packaging; or other materials. Because recyclable waste comprises a variety of materials, each waste stream may be managed and (in some cases) regulated differently.

Office waste

Workplaces and conference rooms have recycling bins for office paper, corrugated boxes and aluminum cans. Recyclables are collected from offices  and  factory areas  and sent to recycling centers.

Organic waste

Food scraps make up the third-largest U.S waste stream after paper and yard waste.

After TI Malaysia's success in collecting organic material from the cafeteria and allowing it to break down into compost and fertilizer, several Texas sites instituted cafeteria waste programs as well.

In addition, our sites work with cafeteria vendors to provide employees with compostable to-go boxes, cups, straws, napkins and utensils. Where possible, these sites also strive to:

  • Eliminate the use of foam and plastic.

  • Reduce the number of to-go containers by offering dine-in specials.

  • Require that diners separate and recycle waste.

  • Recycle napkin and paper-towel waste from cafeterias and restrooms.

  • Reduce or eliminate individual food and tray wrappers.

  • Collect cafeteria food waste.

  • Procure more organic or locally grown food.

For some Texas sites, a local company takes our organic waste and composts it off-site to create compost, topdressing and soil-blend products for sale in the community. The community benefits and we use some of their products for our own on-site landscaping.

Outside the U.S., where the custom is to dine in, many of our sites do not offer disposal containers. They instead provide reusable dishes in employee cafeterias and collect food waste for composting or animal feed.

Used manufacturing supplies

We recycle waste from manufacturing processes, including employee personal protective equipment and other items. For example:

  • Booties and hairnets worn each day are collected and shipped to a facility that recycles them to make more nylon and plastics.

  • Wafer carriers are cleaned and reused when possible. Otherwise, they are ground up and put back into use by the plastics industry.

  • Empty chemical containers are cleaned, shredded, baled and consolidated for shipment; we sell the material back to the plastics industry for reuse.

  • Wafer fab shoes in good condition are donated to local nonprofit organizations.

  • Manufacturing equipment is reused in different facilities or sold, when feasible.

We have a comprehensive program for disposing of equipment used in manufacturing processes. Our objective, whenever possible, is to prolong the life of the equipment and keep it in active commerce, either by using it elsewhere within our own operations or by selling it for continued use. If neither option is practical, then we decommission it, clean it and sell the equipment for scrap, so it can be reused in an environmentally responsible way.

Scrap silicon wafers

Silicon wafers are the foundation for the development of TI's semiconductor products. Many silicon wafers are reused as "test wafers" in our manufacturing processes.

When these wafers reach the end of their useful life, we sell the remaining silicon – still a valuable raw material in this form – as scrap to solar-panel fabricators.

E-waste

TI participates in take-back programs for our education technology products and encourages employees to recycle old cellphones and printer-ink cartridges through local or regional vendors. In addition, we educate employees on internal processes for properly disposing of electronic equipment used at work, including computer monitors and laptops. We also provide forums for employees to share information on recycling personal e-waste.

Industrial waste

Industrial waste originates from manufacturing operations and is classified according to regulating authorities in each operating region. Such waste primarily includes chemicals used in manufacturing processes.

TI works to reduce or recycle waste from manufacturing operations. We start by reducing our use of chemicals and disposables. We also recapture and recycle non-chemical materials, such as valuable pump oils. In some cases, we use high-pressure water instead of chemicals in certain cleanup applications. Elsewhere, we replace chemicals with environmentally benign substitutes when possible.

We can reuse materials and resources in several different ways, and have implemented methods to recover metals from solids, liquids and sludge. Some materials, including certain solvents, are burned in boilers or industrial furnaces for energy recovery under appropriate regulatory recycling and reuse programs. We also reuse slurry, which is a mixture of water, ultra-fine abrasive particles and some additives that produces a polished surface on silicon wafers.

We sell some of our used process chemicals for reuse in other industries. By segregating and repurposing waste chemicals, we reduce the amount of chemicals that need to be manufactured for other industries and that need to be disposed of.

In addition, we recycle water used in our fabrication processes by feeding it to utility plant cooling towers for heating and cooling purposes.