HWTR Pollution Prevention

My Watershed

WaferTech

Waste Goes Down, Profits Go Up, and the Environment Wins

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The Company:
WaferTech LLC manufactures semiconductors and employs over 1,000 workers in Camas. The company produces semiconductor computer chips used in smart phones, tablet computers, digital cameras, and a variety of other electronic products.

Their Results:
WaferTech has been committed to reducing dangerous waste for more than ten years. Since 2003, the company reduced their dangerous waste by more than 77%, while increasing production at the same time. These impressive results can be attributed to actively seeking and finding good reuse and recycle opportunities for the company’s three largest waste streams: sulfuric acid, thinner solvent, and N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP).

Lab Tech

Inspecting the patterned wafer during
semiconductor manufacturing

How They Did It:
WaferTech has a comprehensive Environmental Management System (EMS) and has been registered to ISO 14001 since 2001. The EMS provides the framework for the company’s commitment to minimizing negative impacts to the environment, and for continually improving their environmental performance.

WaferTech segregates many spent waste materials. This prevents contamination, so the materials can be reused or recycled. Initially, their NMP waste had too much water content to be recycled. Adding new drain lines to divert the water enabled the NMP to be recycled. Sulfuric acid and thinner are reused by other facilities as substitutes for new products, allowing almost 800,000 pounds of waste to be reused in 2012.

WaferTech also reduced the amount of materials used in the production process. This provides savings on the cost of purchasing raw materials in addition to the cost of managing their waste. For example, their use of a corrosive liquid used for etching wafers dropped considerably by making changes in the production process. This was achieved by increasing the time the material is used before it's considered 'spent' and by reducing product evaporation.

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WaterTech continues to strive for environmental improvement. They are a new member of Clark County’s Green Business Program. The company also has a Green Team, working to further improve the company’s sustainability. The team’s current focus is to decrease solid waste sent to landfill, starting with finding a reuse opportunity for calcium fluoride cake waste.

Contacts and Resources
For additional information, please visit www.wafertech.com or contact:
Judy Johansen, CHMM, Environmental Engineer: jjohanse@wafertech.com
Doug Moody, CIH,  EH&S Manager: dmoody@wafertech.com