Delta Design/Cohu Green Initiatives
Updated February 2016
Cohu, Inc. (all subsidiaries in the Poway, California office) views environmental protection as a management responsibility as well as the responsibility of every employee. We collectively and individually are taking action to reduce our environmental impact, with intention to:
- Conduct our operations in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and standards concerning environmental protection, and provide a mechanism for self-monitoring to ensure compliance and continual improvement
- Minimize the environmental risks to our employees and the communities in which we operate.
- Reduce and (where possible) eliminate waste through recycling and resource conservation, as well as implement and enforce safe and responsible handling and disposal of all waste.
Waste Reduction and Recycling Highlights
Our solid waste reduction program includes recycling for shipping materials, specifically: packing peanuts, plastic bags, (cardboard) shipping boxes, (wooden) palettes, and (wooden) shipping containers. Our goal at inception in 2007 was, and continues to be, consistently keep our monthly solid waste below 20 tons.
In midsummer 2008 building construction temporarily increased our solid waste output. In 2009 conversion from a paper-based Defective Material Reporting process (DMR) to an online process successfully reduced paper waste by approximately 30,000 pages, or 75%.
In 2011 we found a vendor that allowed us to separate non-usable crates and pallets from trash, so we could target them for 100% recycling.
By keeping recyclable materials out of solid waste, we have been able to keep our monthly trash output well below our 20 tons/month maximum output goal, with the past two years below half that, at less than an average of 10 tons/month (see Figure 1).
All metal waste from our manufacturing processes is directed to an appropriate recycling facility to reduce solid waste (trash) and redeem a small cash reimbursement. Metal waste includes product components as well as building materials.
Our Facilities, IT, and Manufacturing departments have made concerted efforts to channel all electronic waste (wiring, motors, circuit boards, lamps, batteries, computers) to a vendor for safe disposal and recycling where applicable.
Bins for recycling aluminum cans, and plastic and glass bottles are available in all break rooms and the company cafeteria to encourage recycling, and collect CRV reimbursement where applicable.
Bins for recycling paper, metal, cardboard, glass, e-waste, and packing materials are placed strategically around the offices, labs, manufacturing floor, break rooms, cafeteria, and shipping and receiving docks to facilitate appropriate disposal. We also have “sharps” biohazard disposal containers in all restrooms.
In total, the recycling program has saved 1,169,942 pounds of material from the solid waste stream, since program inception (see Figure 2).
Note: Prior to mid-2010 shredded paper waste was tracked by the pound. However a vendor change to cost structure to flat-rate per barrel delimited our ability to track this metric comparatively. All paper in Figure 2 reflects material from recycling bins only, not from bins destined for shredding.
Our commitment to energy reduction/conservation encompasses individual as well as large-scale facilities changes. Our goal has been to reduce the entire Poway site calculated average monthly greenhouse gas emissions five percent from that in 2010. Efforts have included:
- Installing reflective ceramic roofing tiles to help maintain (consistent) building temperature.
- Replacing 799 light fixtures and ballasts on the laboratory and manufacturing floors with 28 watt lamps and low energy ballasts. Energy savings calculates to approx. 279,755 kWh/year, or to 400,050 pounds of CO2. Cost reduction is 30%.
- Adding “Vendingmi$er” monitors to the ten in-house beverage dispensers that cycle low-use mode for refrigerated machines. Energy savings is approx. 16,100 kWH/year.
- Installing auto-sleep modes on all company-issued PCs and monitors, dimming monitors after ten minutes of inactivity, and reducing hard disk power after 60 minutes. Energy savings is 10% per unit.
- Replacing old air conditioning units with those 8.25% more efficient (2009/10).
- Installing reflective film on 1690 sq. ft. of window space, including a building-enclosed atrium, and southwest facing windows. (2010/11). Heat transfer rate to adjacent area has been reduced 79% (product specification estimate).
- Upgrading the A/C energy management systems to power off all units during non-scheduled work periods (2011).
Two key product releases in 2010 coincided with energy usage increases, as did a demand-response building pre-cooling action in 2010 during unusually hot weather. Though the monthly energy usage fluctuates by year the yearly energy consumption has decreased consistently to a total over 25% since 2011 (see inset, Figure 3).
Our goal since 2009 has been to reduce water usage (including reclaimed water for landscaping) a cumulative 25% by 2014 (additional 5% per year). In 2009 we eliminated water usage from our manufacturing processes, and then retrofitted all restrooms with low use faucets and commodes with a 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) rating (versus 3.5 gpf). In 2010 we installed recycled water plumbing for all landscaping, and in 2011 completed draught-tolerant landscaping installation. Most recently, in 2012 the entire fire sprinkler system was retrofit to eliminate the need for frequent flushing.
Our water consumption has not decreased by our projected 5% per year; however we have been able to keep average use near our baseline value. Even with severe Southern Californian drought, 2015 showed a dramatic decrease in use of both potable (down 17% from both 2014 and 2009) and reclaimed water (down 25% from 2014 and 4% from 2009) (see Figure 4).
Safety Training and Certification
Human Resources and Company Area Safety Coordinators plan, conduct, and audit regular training on our twelve safety programs. All employees receive core training on six programs, with others required by job description, or on a volunteer basis. We follow OSHA retraining requirements for all programs, offering refresher courses every one to three years as needed.
Programs include: Ergonomics, Emergency Building Evacuation, Hazard Communication and Slip/Lift/Fall techniques, Forklift, PPE (personal protective equipment), Lockout/Tagout (LOTO), Hazardous Waste Handling, Hazardous Waste Containment, Electrical Safety, CPR (First Aid/First Responder/AED included), and Fire Extinguisher Use.
Adopted HAZMAT procedures cover removal and recycling of normal products in semiconductor handler manufacturing and test: propylene glycol, Dowtherm 400 and desiccant. All biohazard materials, like alcohol wipes/debris, paints, adhesives and aerosol cans, are sent out to a hazardous material hander.
Since inception of the Green Program in 2009 our Dept. of Environmental Health Unified Program Facility Permit, has never lapsed nor had a non-compliance. Our Facilities Manager arranges for recertification yearly.
To support employees in light of any safety related problems, Cohu offers appropriate workers’ compensation to assist any employee injured on the job or due to job related issues.
Employees can contribute to energy conversation via our vanpool program sponsored by Enterprise Rideshare. By encouraging employees in common areas to utilize a group commute, we can save an estimated 25% on fossil fuels and emissions for a 30-mile commute. As of January 2013 we have four ride-share vans in operation, with between five and seven people per van.
Employees also can help reduce paper/Styrofoam waste by using their own beverage containers in our café for a discount on fountain drinks and coffee.
Communication to Customers
Our product reference manuals include SDS (Safety Data Sheets) for all materials used in the operation or maintenance of our equipment. We also communicate any safety-related information about our products directly to our customers via Sales Account Managers, web-accessible Customer Service Bulletins, and website postings.