The sludge from its plant is a product of electroplating wastewater treatment processes. It contains high levels of calcium but extremely low levels of hazardous materials. The calcium is what gives IBM's sludge its value. It is a necessary ingredient in cement production, making it ideal for reuse in a cement kiln.
Concerned government agencies agreed to some flexibility in their regulations and IBM agreed to protect human health and the environment. As a result, the company is recycling 300 tons of sludge per year. The use of this recycled material saves raw materials as well as landfill space and the cost to IBM of using that space.
Big Blue took the initiative and found both a more efficient and environmentally sound way of doing business.