Procter & Gamble has announced that 45 of its facilities have now achieved zero manufacturing waste to landfill—a major step toward the company’s long-term vision of sending zero manufacturing and consumer waste to landfills. Over the past five years, P&G's says that its work to find worth in waste has created more than $1 billion in value for the company. Bob McDonald, P&G president, CEO, and chairman of the Board 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. Changing the way we see waste as a company has brought us one step closer to this goal at 45 sites worldwide, where all of our manufacturing waste is recycled, repurposed, or converted into energy.”
P&G announced its first zero manufacturing waste-to-landfill site in Budapest in 2007. Since then, the company has shared a long-term Environmental Vision, pledging to work toward zero consumer and manufacturing waste worldwide. Through quality assurance, packaging reduction, compaction, and recycling efforts, the company now ensures that 99% of all materials entering P&G plants leaves as finished product or is recycled, reused, or converted to energy. Now, as the company celebrates its 175th year, less than 1% of all materials entering P&G sites globally leaves as waste.
To drive all sites toward zero, P&G has searched for new ways to find value in what was once seen as waste. In Mexico, paper sludge from a Charmin toilet tissue plant is turned into low-cost roof tiles used to build homes in the local community. At a U.S. Pampers site, scrap from the wipe manufacturing process is converted to upholstery filling. And, in the U.K., waste created in the production of Gillette shaving foam is composted then used to grow turf for commercial uses.
“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,” shares Dr. Forbes McDougall, who leads P&G’s global zero manufacturing waste program. “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.”
This announcement coincides with a company-wide message to inspire employees and consumers to think differently about the everyday things they do and the surprisingly positive impact they can have on the environment. On April 22nd, the company will hold a global, live discussion on “Sharing a Vision and Zeroing in on Waste.” The conversation with P&G's Sustainability leadership will be hosted by The Guardian and will feature crowd-sourced questions and live Q&A.