Unilever North America has announced it has achieved 100% zero waste to landfill (ZLF) at all dedicated distribution centers in North America. The company reached its target of ZLF at all global factories in January.
Reducing waste sent for disposal is a critical component of the Unilever 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.
Unilever reached ZLF at all of its owned facilities in North America in April 2013. The company continued to expand its goals by looking for ways to collaborate with partners, such as third-party distribution centers, which house the company’s finished goods.
“Reaching 100% zero waste to landfill on all waste streams at our North America distribution centers is a great example of how we are putting our sustainability strategy into action and reducing our environmental footprint to strengthen our business, as well as our commitment to partnership and collaboration,” said Reginaldo Ecclissato, SVP Americas Supply Chain & Chairman, Unilever Americas Supply Chain Company. “This achievement builds on the journey we began a few years ago when all of our Unilever-owned factories in North America became zero waste to landfill, but it is far from the end. We will continue to challenge ourselves and our partners in our mission for sustainable growth.”
Solutions to avoid sending finished goods to landfill include focusing on inventory management, composting, creating animal feed, recycling packaging, and generating biodiesel fuel. Eliminating waste in distribution centers resulted in cost savings of more than $1.9 million in 2013.
To achieve ZLF Unilever has adopted the four “R” approach—first by reducing waste at the source and then reusing, recovering, or recycling any non-hazardous waste that remains. It has meant reconsidering every single material that is consumed in a factory and distribution center—from reusing packing materials from supplier deliveries to food waste from staff cafeterias.
“The Unilever Supply Chain team worked closely with our distribution centers to ensure each location had the right tools to achieve 100% zero waste to landfill,” said Wendy Herrick, Vice President Logistics & Customer Service Unilever, North America, Supply Chain. “Sustainability is at the core of our business strategy and this milestone is an important step in reducing our environmental footprint.”