A team of Intel employees out of the company’s Chandler, Ariz., facility helped design and manufacture thousands of pencil boxes for children using 1,500 pounds of leftover plastic from its factory waste stream.
Recycling the 1,500 pounds of polystyrene into 4,100 pencil boxes avoided 19 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the effect of 487 trees over 10 years, Intel said.
The team’s Grave to Cradle pilot project, which was funded through the company’s internal Sustainability in Action grant stream, started with polystyrene reels that originally held yards of computer chip components. The G2C group collaborated with several local organizations and businesses to remove the reels’ labels, grind them into small bits and mold them into the pencil box shape, Intel said.
Volunteers from Arizona Science Lab and National Engineers Week filled the pencil boxes with school supplies, including a bookmark that describes how the boxes were created and lists ways students can incorporate sustainability into their lives. Intel then donated the pencil boxes to local schools.
Intel employees can apply for Sustainability in Action grants to pursue projects that foster environmental sustainability worldwide. Last year, Intel distributed $125,000 to nine employee projects, including the design of a zero-emissions HVAC control and supply system for a local community building in China, and the installation of a rainwater harvesting project at a school in Israel.
Last month, Intel topped the EPA’s ranking of tech companies by amount of green power purchases. The company, which has held the No.1 ranking on the EPA’s overall green power list since 2008, uses about 2.8 billion kWh of green power annually or about 89 percent of the company’s nationwide electricity use.
Intel also has the strongest environmental governance, policies and infrastructure among major US firms, according to a report published earlier this summer by sustainability consultants Soyka & Company.