Waste Diversion at GAF's Baltimore Facility Minimizes Its Environmental Footprint

By Jeff Terry 06-28-2023
Tag Icon

At GAF's shingle manufacturing facility in Baltimore, Maryland there are many day-to-day responsibilities beyond manufacturing itself—including materials planning, purchasing, and waste management, to name just a few. Beginning in 2018, the acting plant manager tasked the Baltimore team with another challenge: could they identify ways to make their operation greener and more efficient? Given GAF's long-time focus on sustainability and their knowledge of the Baltimore plant's environmental footprint, it was clear that a focus on waste diversion would result in the most significant improvements.

As Site Materials Manager at the time, Steve Henry, spearheaded the effort. He notes that getting started was the heaviest lift: "It's about having good records, knowing your waste streams, talking with your vendors, and putting a good system in place," Steve said. "Start with the lowest-hanging fruit—what are my biggest waste streams? Who might be able to use this?" The scrap shingles, for instance, weigh the most of all of the plant's waste streams, and disposal—which is based on tonnage—can be expensive. So he focused his efforts on negotiating terms with a shingle recycler to process shingles that would otherwise have been thrown away.

Thanks to the collective efforts of the Baltimore team, the facility received a GreenCircle waste diversion certificate in 2018 that recorded a diversion-from-landfill rate of 87%, a percentage that was substantially raised the following year. GreenCircle Certified is a third-party organization that quantifies and certifies the percentage of a facility's waste that has been diverted in this way. Despite this success, the team didn't stop there and the plant has continued to focus on improving the segregation of waste streams, working toward a further increase in the amount of diverted materials. In 2023, they are proud to have achieved a waste diversion rate of 97%.

Landfill waste diversion touches many aspects of manufacturing—starting with reducing the amount of waste generated in the first place. This may include redesigning processes so they generate less waste, or by reusing materials. Other means of waste diversion include recycling, composting, or selling a waste to a third party. A last resort—used only for materials that can't be reused or recovered—is to send the material to a waste-to-energy facility for energy recovery.GAF's facility in Baltimore, MD

Baltimore's experience has also been shared with the GAF Green Team, which includes representatives from all of the company's manufacturing facilities. The Green Team identifies and implements sustainability projects at their respective locations, and members connect regularly to share global best practices. Team members are responsible for minimizing the footprint at their own facility as well as sharing their learnings so everyone can benefit from the experiences of other sites. Several GAF sites have also achieved waste diversion certificates, including Mount Vernon, IN; Gainesville, TX; Myerstown, PA; New Columbia, PA; Chester, SC; Cumming, GA; Phoenix, AZ; Shafter, CA; Cedar City, UT; and Fontana, CA.

To find out more about the latest GAF sustainability initiatives across their business, visit the dedicated GAF Sustainability page.

Jeff Terry serves as Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability at GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, leading the development and implementation of the company’s long-term strategy for CSR initiatives. In this role, Jeff also drives community engagement efforts that reinforce GAF’s value of making a lasting impact in the communities in which the company operates both every day and in times of great need.

Prior to joining GAF, Jeff served in a dual role at Amway Corporation as the Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Director of Integrated Marketing Communications. During his tenure, Jeff instituted the first sustainability goals for operations and product development. With a career in sustainability spanning more than 20 years, Jeff also held roles with Sears Holdings Corporation, Cone Communications, and Whirlpool Corporation. Jeff has been involved with Habitat for Humanity for more than two decades including developing two corporate partnerships, Vinyl Partners for Humanity and building the Whirlpool/Habitat relationship.

A nationally-recognized speaker on sustainability, Jeff has presented to the United Nations, as well as at many global conferences. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science from Clemson University.
Don't miss another GAF RoofViews post!
The arrival of autumn means brisk temperatures and falling leaves. You might spend time raking those leaves in your yard—but did you know it's also important to remove leaves from a roof? If left on the roof throughout the winter season, those beautiful, color-changing leaves can potentially cause some serious problems, similar to issues moss buildup poses. Here are the key details to know.
Aromatic logs, the orange glow of flames, and the heat emanating from a fireplace can make even the coldest winter days more tolerable. Preparing your fireplace for winter is imperative to ensure that it performs efficiently and safely throughout the cold season and beyond. Here are some tips for preparing a fireplace and chimney for winter so it can provide the comfort you desire during the cold months.
As part of the nation's longstanding tradition of honoring people who have served in the armed forces, a new museum has been built to recognize those who have been awarded the highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. GAF is proud to be playing a role in the Gainesville Medal of Honor Museum and Education Center in Texas, set to open its doors in 2024.
One high-stress area of a residential roof is where its two faces meet, either at a hip or a ridge. Protecting these areas helps reduce the risk of leaks. Before the advent of shingles purpose-made for hip and ridge caps, roofers typically cut up 3-tab strip shingles and bent them over these areas of the roof. Today, specially made versions of these types of shingles provide better protection while maintaining a roof's aesthetic appeal.
Buildings are designed to keep the outside weather out and the inside space conditioned as the occupants desire. A building's enclosure or envelope is made up of multiple layers of materials with the goal of stopping the uncontrolled movement of water, air, heat, and moisture vapor.
Work is getting underway in Greater Charlotte, North Carolina, as GAF supports Habitat for Humanity with the 2023 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The five-day build event began in 1984 when former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalyn Carter led a group of Habitat for Humanity volunteers to New York, building alongside 19 families in need of safe, affordable housing. For 36 years, the Carters have worked side by side with professional builders and volunteers at locations around the world to build and raise awareness of affordable housing.
This blog contains information created by a variety of sources, including internal and third party writers. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of GAF. The content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute financial, accounting, tax or legal advice. GAF does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the information. In no event shall GAF be held responsible or liable for errors or omissions in the content or for the results, damages or losses caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the content.

Interested in sharing or republishing our content? We kindly ask you to adhere to our guidelines.