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Procter & Gamble: How They Achieved Zero Waste at 45 Manufacturing Plants


Zero waste to landfill. Think about that for a moment. Cincinnati-based P&G, one of the world’s largest manufacturers, is now using, recycling or repurposing 100 percent of the materials that enter 45 of its manufacturing facilities.

The examples of creative uses are many: In Mexico, sludge from a toilet paper factory is used to make roof tiles. In Budapest, rejected feminine care products go into the production of cement, instead of being deposited in landfills. Scraps from feminine care products now go into the soles of low-cost shoes. Waste left over from the manufacturing of shampoo is now used to make fertilizer. Wood scraps go into particle board.

Back in 2007, the company formed a Global Assets Recovery Purchasing (GARP) team with the mission of looking at waste as something that can be used for a different purpose. The team members are, for the most part, procurement specialists who see waste minimization as a business opportunity. Company-wide, only 1 percent of materials entering plants end up in landfills. In March 2013, P&G was able to make the zero-waste announcement about 45 of its plants.    

Globally, 4.6 billion people – more than half of the world’s population -- use P&G products. P&G is making amazing strides in waste reduction in their plants, and now has its eyes set on helping its customers reduce waste as well. By any definition, that is a Great Manufacturing Story.