“We’ve been a leader in sustainability for a very long time. This is evidenced by inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index since 1999,” says Ann Meitz, sustainability director of 3M’s Consumer Business Group. Recently we caught up with her to find out how 3M’s consumer business approaches waste internally.
What does waste reduction mean for 3M’s Consumer Business Group?
In the Consumer Business Group, we strive to contribute to our corporate waste reduction goals. 3M has had public waste reduction goals going back to 1990. Our Pollution Prevention Pays project started back in 1975. We’ve completed over 13,600 projects that helped us avoid 4.5 billion pounds of waste.
As part of our 2025 sustainability goals, we expanded our waste reduction goals to include achieving zero landfill status at more than 30 percent of our manufacturing sites. 3M has numerous manufacturing facilities in all corners of the world, so that’s a significant goal. In addition, we’re looking to reduce our waste an additional 10 percent beyond what we’ve already done over the last several decades.
Do you have an example of a zero waste-to-landfill project on the consumer business side?
Our Cynthiana plant is a sustainability champion and a trendsetter. This plant produces things like Post-It Notes and Scotch Package Protection tapes. The site set a goal of achieving zero-landfill status in 2010. At the time, it was daunting. This plant site is about 450,000 square meters. They employ about 550 people. At the time the plant set the goal, they were sending over 700,000 pounds per year to the landfill, and there was no clear path to achieving the zero landfill goal.
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