Unilever United States and Canada announced that all 26 of its manufacturing and non-manufacturing headquarter facilities are now zero waste to landfill (ZLF). Other countries in which Unilever has achieved this milestone include the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Japan.
The announcement comes shortly after the company's competitor, The Procter & Gamble Company, made headlines when it reported that 45 of its facilities have now achieved zero manufacturing waste to landfill.
Reducing waste sent for disposal is a critical component of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan. Established in 2010, the Plan aims to halve Unilever’s environmental footprint of the making and use of its products by 2020. As part of this ambitious plan, Unilever is striving to be at or below 2008 levels of total waste from manufacturing facilities by 2015 (five years earlier than originally announced), despite producing significantly higher volumes.
At present, more than half of Unilever’s 252 global factories are ZLF. The key driver for this achievement of ZLF in both North America manufacturing and non-manufacturing headquarter facilities is the elimination of waste. Where reduction of waste is not sufficient, the company’s facilities reuse, recycle, or recover waste to reach zero waste to landfill.
For example, at the Owensboro, Kentucky facility, which produces pasta sauce under the Ragu and Bertolli brands, paper and plastic are sent for recycling, which is eventually converted into tissues and composite lumber, respectively. The Clearwater, Florida plant, which makes frozen ice cream novelties under the Klondike, Breyers, Popsicle, and Good Humor brands, has a “reuse program” that includes reusing cookie liners as trash bags throughout the facility, donating office furniture to Habitat for Humanity, donating used shoes to Pinellas Hope Charity, and selling five-gallon plastic buckets to local stores. The Englewood Cliffs, NJ, headquarter facility implemented waste centralization to increase office recycling.
Unilever is implementing best practices from all over the world, actively using its global supply chain network, to create more environmentally responsible factories. By using the “design once and deploy everywhere” philosophy, the company is driving a sustainable model that is good for the environment and saves costs.
“By eliminating waste, our employees are demonstrating our sustainable business model in action,” said Kees Kruythoff, president, Unilever North America. “This achievement is an important milestone for Unilever as we continue to fulfill our vision of significantly reducing our environmental impact while doubling our business.”
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