Friday, April 9, 2010

One Company's Trash

Mom read me an article last week about how P&G is turning garbage into goods and my first thought was why can't all companies do this? I'm not a big fan of P&G because truth be told, most of their products aren't that great for good ole Mother Earth. But I have to hand it to them for moving in the right direction at least when it comes to waste.

P&G is a $79 billion dollar company with 82 product brands in the US alone, so most people have several P&G products in their house. Some of their more well known brands are Tide, Charmin, Bounty, Downy, Pampers, Pantene, Crest, and Gillette. The reason most of their products are not environmentally friendly is because they don't source sustainable materials, and their laundry and healthcare products contain toxic chemicals. But this post isn't about what they're doing wrong. It's about what they're doing right.

The process of manufacturing products involves waste. It's that plain and simple, or as some would say, just the cost of doing business. But it's what companies do with that waste that separates the bad guys from the good. P&G created GARP (Global Asset Recovery Purchases) two years ago with one employee and has since grown to 25 people.

GARP turns garbage into goods via 20 industrial partners around the world who are involved in the program, many of whom specialize in alternative use recycling. Many of the waste or garbage materials in the past (or in other industries) would end up in landfills. Thanks to GARP, turning garbage into goods has kept tons of waste out of landfills thus enabling P&G to reduce its disposable waste by 30% since 2007. Just think of all the waste that a company like P&G creates through the manufacture of its products. The idea behind GARP is that if they can't find a use for a material one of their partners can. So selling or donating materials to their partners is a win-win for everyone because it not only keeps waste out of landfills, but it also reduces the need to use raw materials. GARP is so much more than recycling, don't you think?

P&G converts 96% of their raw materials into finished products but the rest is left for waste. That's where GARP comes in by finding partners who can utilize the waste that P&G cannot. But what type of waste am I talking about? I think you'll be surprised when you find out. And even more surprised when you read what their partners use that waste for.

In China, facial cream components are converted into products used for leather care. Seven distribution centers worked together to come up for a use for the facial cream waste. P&G China now keeps 97% of all scrap materials out of landfills due to GARP.

In Budapest, GARP teams use scrap feminine pads to fuel kilns at a local cement factory. This not only reduces the factory's energy consumption but also P&G's disposable waste. The team found that when the pads are shredded, they burn really well. The two Budapest factories now have shredders on site and they sell the scraps to a local cement maker.

Here in the U.S, ingredients used in toothpaste have found a second life as an additive in wheel polish and jewelry cleaners. Who knew? Mom did! She has been cleaning her jewelry with toothpaste for years. P&G shares the toothpaste with a U.S. company that blends it to make high-performance polish. By reusing this material, P&G is not incinerating the unused material and the partner is not using raw materials.

Another U.S. factory that produces Metamucil has found that a byproduct used in the manufacturing process that is typically considered waste can be recycled for soil retention in landscaping projects. This byproduct, when mixed with water and sprayed on developing landscapes, helps with soil retention thereby giving grass a chance to take root and grow.

Can you believe the garbage that is turned into goods? I'm so impressed with how P&G is addressing waste that I'm going to research how other companies deal with the same issue. I realize a program like GARP takes time and money to develop but it's the commitment to doing the right thing that makes all the difference. I'm hoping I find more companies handling waste in a similar fashion to P&G. If not, my question still remains - why can't all companies do this?


Those Elgin Pugs said...

Hello Stubby!

What a great discovery you have made once again!!! What a great thing P & G is doing to help this wonderful world in which you and I live!!! Stubby, once again you make my heart melt like butter with your smarts. (I figured food references are always good!)
Keep up the good work and if you need a little research assistant I am your girl!!! Now if you need the abbreviated word for assisant to help you then Izzy is your girl! (Hee Hee Hee Snort...)

THE PUGLET said...

You're so right Stubbs - good news is good news. Thanks for sharing it!

I still think it's kinda weird that humans have to work so hard to undo stuff they work so hard to do in the first place. I mean, why manufacture something Metamucil when you can just eat grass? Or rocks?

Problem solved.

Yoda & Brutus said...

That is so cool that more companies are looking to recycle their waste for other uses than occupying a landfill. I don't know if we have told you before, but our dad works for a company that processes waste from companies and helps those companies find ways to reuse that waste in other ways instead of it going to a landfill - if you want to check it out their website is

Pugs & Kisses

Yoda & Brutus

Stella, Gunther and Betty said...

This is wonderful news Stubby! Betty isn't the only one recycling...

Stella, Gunther and Betty

Tweedles -- that's me said...

It sounds like there is hope for our planet after all.
And I never would have known if you had not of told me.
Your so smart. I think you must be the smartest pug I know.

Dana Orsborn said...

Hi Stubby!

This is a great post! Most people
don't know about this. Penny and I didn't until we read this. I'm glad they are moving in a more positive direction. Now, if only we could get them to stop testing products
on animals.

One step at a time.

Hope you had a great weekend!

-Dana & Penny

Melissa and Emmitt said...

hi stubby!
it is so great that the big giants are even making changes to save and protect the environment!
this is great news!
every bit counts!
m & e

Apollo said...

That's really cool! I'd say it's a big step in the right direction. I hope many other big companies like P&G are or will be following suit.

Stubby said...

Hi Josie Girl! Butter is always a good thing! You know you're my number one girl and that if I need an assistant you're it.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Puglet! Humans are just not smart all the time. They totally have to undo dumb stuff all the time.

You and I are so much smarter than humans. Look, you just totally solved the need for Metamucil and you don't even have thumbs!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Yoda & Brutus! That's so cool that your dad works for such a great company. Mom totally needs to work for a company like that.

I really liked how the company timeline is via the periodic table. Very cool!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Stella, Gunther & Betty! Betty is thankfully not the only one recycling. She is a good recycler and could teach corporate America a thing or two about waste.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! There's always hope for the planet. Please don't give up hope because I can't do this all by myself.

Thanks so much for the compliment. I guess I'm smarter than I thought I was.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Dana & Penny! There are so many companies doing great things just like P&G. I think we don't hear about them all the time because so many other issues clog up the airways.

I know what you mean on testing products on animals. Mom doesn't buy any that do but there's so many products that are. Maybe you could champion that cause?

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Melissa & Emmitt! You are so right that every little bit helps. Hopefully more companies will follow P&G's lead. There are so many uses for trash.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Apollo! It is so cool and a big huge step in the right direction. I'm hoping more companies will get on board with this type of program.

Stubby xoxo