Staples is not only committed to helping customers recycle and reduce their waste, we’re also dedicated to eliminating waste in our own operations. As a global company, we operate nearly 2,000 owned and leased facilities worldwide as well as managing the transport of products to and from our buildings. In order to reduce the waste impacts of our operations, we have set a global waste reduction goal. We have programs in place in our stores, distribution centers and offices to recycle materials such as cardboard, mixed paper, shrink wrap and pallets, and we responsibly manage the small quantities of hazardous and restricted wastes that we generate in our operations. Globally, the volume of waste to landfill increased by approximately 2% from our baseline year to our most recent reporting year. This global increase was significantly driven by improved tracking and reporting capabilities for waste in the U.S. and Canada.
We feel optimistic that we can regain the positive trend of decreasing waste that we demonstrated in earlier years of our goal timeline. We continuously seek new ways to reduce waste and increase recycling in our facilities across the business. Initiatives include launching waste audits to identify key waste-reduction opportunities, improving communications around policies, optimizing processes, centralizing waste contracts to make it easier for facilities to adopt recycling programs, and reallocating recycling equipment to boost participation. We are currently developing and piloting initiatives with our U.S. retail store base that we believe will help further increase diversion rates including improved signage, processes and communications related to several different waste streams.
Staples generated 88 tons of hazardous and restricted waste in North America in 2015. The vast majority of the waste generated is expired or damaged product that can no longer be sold and must be processed as restricted or hazardous waste. Overall, hazardous and restricted waste represents less than one quarter of one percent of our total waste. We manage these wastes through third-party waste management parties that dispose of them responsibly, and we train all necessary associates on how to handle these materials safely and appropriately.
Additional data about total waste generated, including materials diverted for recycling, can be found in our Performance Summary.
globally (Short Tons)