P&G hits zero waste for one-third of global manufacturing ops

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has achieved zero waste to landfill at 45 of its manufacturing sites worldwide, representing a third of its total production infrastructure.

The company, which operates 136 manufacturing facilities across more than 40 countries, has a long-term vision to divert not only all manufacturing waste from landfill, but post-consumer waste too.

It also intends to turn these materials into an income stream – over the past five years, P&G has generated more than $1bn in value from its waste.

In Mexico for instance, 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 US site which produces the Pampers brand, scrap from the wipe manufacturing process is converted to upholstery filling. Meanwhile in the UK, waste created in the production of Gillette shaving foam is composted then used to grow turf for commercial uses.

According to Dr Forbes McDougall, who leads P&G’s global zero manufacturing waste programme, the company’s broad product portfolio results in a diverse set of waste streams to find sustainable solutions for.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

P&G president and CEO Bob McDonald added that 99% of all materials entering P&G plants either leaves as finished product or is recycled, reused or converted to energy.

“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,” he said.

P&G claims to be the world’s largest consumer goods company, with nearly $84bn in sales. It first achieved zero manufacturing waste to landfill at a Budapest site in 2007.

Maxine Perella

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