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K-C launches recycling program



Published May 2, 2013
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To provide cleanrooms and laboratories with effective solutions to mitigate waste and enhance corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability efforts, Kimberly-Clark Professional has introduced RightCycle—a large-scale recycling effort for nontraditional cleanroom waste.

"Our customers have ambitious sustainability goals, yet often struggle with where and how to get started," says Randy Kates, director, global scientific business, Kimberly-Clark Professional. "We believe the most significant and enduring change occurs when team members are actively engaged in the solution. Our innovative RightCycle program offers a powerful and easy way for customers to exceed their solid waste reduction goals, while helping to make their workplaces healthier, safer and more productive."

The program takes recycling to a new level—beyond downcycling, upcycling and other approaches. It makes it easy to recycle previously hard-to-recycle items like cleanroom garments, gloves, hoods, boot covers and hairnets. Items are deposited in either a RightCycle collection box or in the client's own boxes. Full boxes are assembled onto pallets and picked up by Kimberly-Clark Professional recycling partner TerraCycle. After the products are collected, they are turned into raw materials and used to create useful, eco-friendly consumer products, such as plastic Adirondack chairs and benches, bulk plastics and other items.

Kimberly-Clark Professional is a global leader in contamination control solutions for cleanrooms and laboratories. It first announced its single-use garment recycling program in 2011 and completed successful pilots of a nitrile glove recycling program in 2012, which is now available nationwide. Since the recycling efforts began, participating cleanrooms and laboratories have diverted 70,000 pounds of garment, glove and other waste from landfills via the Kimberly-Clark Professional recycling programs. Life Technologies Corporation, a global life sciences company, is on track to recycle five tons of gloves in the first year.

The disposal of solid waste from manufacturing operations poses considerable challenges for businesses and society. Landfill options are becoming more limited and waste disposal costs continue to rise. In 2011, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the parent company for Kimberly-Clark Professional, announced it would be sending zero manufacturing waste to landfills by 2015. Since 2000, the company's global nonwovens division, which develops and manufactures fabrics and materials used to create products such as protective apparel and face masks, has diverted more than 99% of its manufacturing waste from landfills.