Pioneering Environmental Technologies
Life Cycle Approach to the Environment
Boeing addresses environmental concerns throughout the life cycle of our products. Our research and development programs focus on reducing fuel consumption, emissions, noise and hazardous waste. More than 75 percent of Boeing Commercial Airplanes' research and development effectively contributes to improved environmental performance.
Boeing's goals for the use of environmentally progressive products and processes start with our supply chain and extend through end of service when aircraft are recycled in a safe and environmentally responsible way.
Photo: Boeing Photo
Boeing continuously works with suppliers to identify and develop sustainable new products for aerospace.
One product, currently being tested on a Southwest Airlines 737, is a recycled carpet made without the use of harmful chemicals. These new recycled carpet tiles allow airlines to quickly replace only soiled or worn portions of carpeting, rather than re-carpet the entire passenger cabin. If this in-service test proves successful, this new carpeting could be introduced into commercial airplanes starting in 2011.
We also team with suppliers to help reduce waste in our own factories.
Employees in Long Beach, Calif., worked with suppliers to develop reusable carts to deliver parts, eliminating bubble wrap and other waste. This method now is being used to deliver more than 4,700 parts and assemblies to the C-17 production line. Similar efforts by employees on the 737 and 777 programs in Washington state have eliminated thousands of pounds of packing materials previously sent to landfills.
At the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, employees teamed with a subcontractor responsible for developing program documentation. Together, they identified ways to avoid unnecessary printing, saving 25,000 pounds (11,250 kilograms) of paper each year. Boeing intends to significantly expand these efforts in 2010 as we conduct more than 400 Lean+ workshops to help our supply chain reduce its environmental footprint.
We also are developing new contracting provisions for introduction in mid-2010 that encourage suppliers to maximize the use of recycled materials, minimize hazardous waste, conserve energy and prevent pollution.
Photo: AFRA, used with permission
Boeing has taken a leadership role in aircraft life cycle and end-of-service recycling strategies for more than 50 years. This remains an important environmental concern since 7,200 airplanes are expected to be retired from active service during the next 20 years.
We are a founding member of the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association, a global consortium of more than 40 companies that provides environmentally responsible options for aging aircraft. This includes maintaining and reselling reliable airplanes and returning them to service. Safe parts recovery, scrapping and recycling services are available for airplanes that cannot be returned to service.
The association has established specifications for environmentally appropriate dismantling and recycling techniques. AFRA also provides a third-party audit program. Member companies annually recycle 25,000 tons of aircraft aluminum and 1,000 tons of special alloys used in aerospace manufacturing.
In addition, Boeing works with companies around the world to ensure that carbon fiber composite materials, such as those used in the 787 Dreamliner and advanced tactical aircraft, can be recycled for decades to come. Over the past several years, Boeing has worked with our manufacturing sites and suppliers to collect carbon fiber manufacturing scrap and develop processes to return this material back into aerospace manufacturing. This includes using recovered 787 manufacturing scrap carbon fibers to build several prototype aircraft interior components that currently are undergoing testing. We also have tested the feasibility of using recycled carbon fiber for tooling used in the production of aerospace parts.