Green3 : A Paradigm Shift In Waste Management For Semiconductor Manufacturing
Shawn Sahbari, President, Envirodigm, Inc.
Semiconductor advances make everything from safety features found in automobiles such as airbag sensors and anti-lock brake systems to medical devices and personal electronics like smart phones, tablet computers, and the flat panel TVs possible. However, the growth in the semiconductor industry has also had collateral impact where waste treatment and abatement techniques developed in the 1960’s are unable to keep up with high volume manufacturing but continue to dominate the industry today. These “grandfathered” techniques put semiconductor fabs second only to waste treatment facilities as significant generators of waste in regional EPA reports. Shortened product life cycles, commoditization of electronic devices with constant price erosion, coupled with increased cost of manufacturing provide additional challenge for modern semiconductor fabs. Although e-waste collection and recycling practices are gaining traction to address end-of-life options for devices, the fab has not been able to employ modern solutions and has been hampered with regulatory and infrastructure limitations. The traditional legacy options do not reflect best practices and do not advance industry guidelines, EPA reductions goals, and the objective of local communities, shareholders and stakeholders. This presentation explores innovative approach for manufacturers to reduce costs, reduce and eliminate waste, while simultaneously minimizing the company’s environmental footprint. The Green3 business concept enables companies to capitalize on the triple bottom line where meaningful financial returns, sustainable manufacturing, and green chemistry initiatives are coalesced to transition the IC manufacturing fab from historical cradle-to-grave practices to cradle-to-cradle. Current models will not be sustainable in the future due to several factors that will be addressed in this paper. Any material going to landfill or traditional disposal will pose a potential threat to soil and ground water contamination. Large amounts of water and neutralization chemicals are required to treat some of these streams which also burden the lifecycle and have recently emerged as a formidable expense. The adverse impact of fossil fuels required to transport and process these materials is largely not considered, except when fuel surcharges are levied to the generator. Emissions from fuels blending or incineration operations constantly contribute to air pollution. Corporate liability is also exponentially increased when considering the recent demise of waste facilities with pass through PRP (potential responsible party) exposure to the fab. Clean up costs and downstream liability from contaminated areas and health related issues are absorbed by the PRP which historically included some of the largest names in industry such as Fairchild, National, Motorola, and others tied in environmental litigation for years at a cost of millions of dollars.