Over the past five years, P&G's work to find worth in waste has created over $1 billion in value for the company and beauty and baby care dedicated facilities in North and South America are amongst the 45 sites worldwide, where all manufacturing waste is recycled, repurposed or converted into energy.
On the accomplishment P&G President Bob McDonald says; “We have a vision for the future, where plants are powered by renewable energy, products are made from recycled and renewable materials and resources are conserved, with no waste going to landfill.”
Finding solutions for the toughest waste streams
The personal care giant announced its first zero manufacturing waste to landfill site in Budapest back in 2007. Since then it has shared a long-term Environmental Vision, pledging to work toward zero consumer and manufacturing waste worldwide.
The company says it now ensures that 99 percent of all materials entering plants leaves as finished product or is recycled, reused or converted to energy through quality assurance, packaging reduction, compaction and recycling efforts.
“There are well-defined systems for recycling materials like paper, plastic and glass, but our product portfolio is incredibly broad, resulting in a diverse set of waste streams to find sustainable solutions for,” says Dr. Forbes McDougall, who leads P&G’s global zero manufacturing waste program.
Innovative ways of driving the sites towards zero
To drive all sites toward zero, conscious efforts to see value in waste includes the likes of paper sludge being turned into low-cost roof tiles for homes in the local community in Mexico, or waste created in the production of Gillette shaving foam being composted and then used to grow turf for commercial uses.
“We focused on finding solutions for our toughest waste streams at our largest sites, and while initially we saw progress in our overall corporate recycling, the increase in zero landfill sites was slow. Today, we have found ways to divert most of our major waste streams away from landfill, so we’re now seeing new sites achieve zero manufacturing waste to landfill nearly every month,” explains McDougall.