Preserving the Environment

What Does It Take to Be a Zero-Waste Manufacturer? This Company Is Finding Out

January 15, 2014
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What Does It Take to Be a Zero-Waste Manufacturer? This Company Is Finding Out
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Tom’s of Maine, maker of eco-friendly toiletries, has a goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2020. Can it be done?

Waste-free manufacturing might sound like an oxymoron. But for Tom’s of Maine, the maker of eco-friendly toiletry products, going waste-free is a lofty goal  that may soon be within reach. In the company’s annual “Goodness Report” released in summer 2013, Tom’s pledged to reduce the amount of waste the company sends to landfills from 83 kilograms of waste per ton of goods produced (the company’s already low 2012 baseline) to zero kilograms per ton by 2020. To do this, the company is attacking the issue from all angles, expanding its recycling efforts, and thinking of creative ways that consumers can dispose of its packaging. “Unlike a lot of other financial decisions that are made in a business, the financial decisions we make around reducing waste are decisions based on our core values,” CEO Tom O’Brien told Earth911. “One of our core values is environmental responsibility, and to be environmentally responsible you better be focused on reducing waste.”

Tom’s already reuses cardboard boxes and scraps from plastic deodorant containers, but in an effort to reach its 2020 goal, the company has partnered with Terracycle to reclaim other streams of waste. For example, it can now recycle the shrink-wrap that’s used to protect pallets of packaging from contamination. The company has also made their packaging completely recyclable, a bonus for consumers, and is tracking the initiative’s progress online. Imagine what a difference it would make if other companies followed Tom’s lead.

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