Since setting our first waste-reduction goal in 2010, Colgate-Palmolive has become the global leader in TRUE with more certified facilities than any other company. Our Cambridge, Ohio home care products plant relentlessly deployed our Green Team strategy, holistically rooting out and solving waste issues across the entire supply chain.
Working with suppliers was key. One had been shipping shrink labels in individual boxes; they agreed to ship on pallets with just a top and bottom layer of cardboard instead, saving 7000+ pounds of cardboard each year. Vendors now ship fragrances in reusable, stainless steel totes instead of single-use metal drums that each sent 43.5 pounds into recycling streams, a savings 500K+ pounds a year. We’ve partnered with a plastics provider to take any out-of-spec PET preforms, recycle them and sell us back the rPET, reducing waste and helping us use less virgin plastic in our process.
Starting with a “dumpster dive”, engaged employees inspected all waste streams, including their own, to generate reduction ideas. Teams upgraded older equipment rather than scrapping it for new, using refurbished parts whenever possible. Everyone received Zero Waste training and updates on goals and new best practices. Cambridge teams lived Colgate’s caring values by donating non-conforming product -- soaps and cleaners with crooked labels or other minor errors -- to community organizations. And excess liquid surfactant found a home with local fire departments to be used to fight fires.
“By 2025, we aim to achieve 100% TRUE certification for our global operations, including manufacturing sites, technology centers, strategic offices and owned warehouses,” says Ann Tracy, Chief Sustainability Officer. “With enthusiastic teams, collaborative partners and this comprehensive approach to waste reduction, we’re confident we can make it happen.”