“We view ourselves as good corporate citizens.”
— Buff B., HR Director, Finance, Controllership, IT, U.S.
Our challenger spirit is particularly evident when it comes to doing more for the environment. From more responsible product development, packaging and recycling efforts to various outreach and grassroots programs, we have never been afraid to lead the way toward greater conservation.
In fact, back in the 1970s our wastewater effluent standards were exemplary enough to become the model for those of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency itself. In the 1990s we led the industry in eliminating mercury and cadmium from household batteries. In the 2000s we led the industry in removing BPA from plastic bottles and in removing toxic metals from razors. And there are lots of additional highlights in recent years as well. We’ll get to those shortly.
Our many partnerships are also worthy of mention, including working with our employees, customers and communities in programs that provide environmentally sustainable products or endorsements like Energy Star®, SmartWay®, Forest Stewardship Council® and many more globally.
And more recently…
In recent years, we have taken even more proactive steps to minimize the impact of our products and manufacturing processes.
Goals to live by.
In 2007, we set five-year goals for ourselves to focus our conservation efforts across four key areas: water usage, waste to landfills, greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage. So far, the progress we have made in reducing our impact has been significant. Our colleagues’ committed efforts have put us well on our way to reaching our 2012 goal levels in water and energy reduction. And our 2012 goals for waste and greenhouse gasses have already been surpassed.
|| Goal By 2012
|| Reduction since 2007 |
| Greenhouse Gases
Better conservation through better information.
Household Products, we decided that the best way to do more was to learn more. So we commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)[PAGEBREAK]
in 2007 to determine the actual environmental impact of household batteries, considering each step of its life cycle, from raw materials to disposal.
What we found might surprise you. Among other things, we found that the relative impact of batteries on the environment, regardless of type, is very low in comparison to other daily activities. In fact, driving a car for five miles has a greater environmental impact that an average person’s battery use over a five-year timeframe.
Green by design.
In addition, we are now developing and incorporating what we call “Design for Sustainability” tools into the product development process for all of our products. Through our Design for Sustainability tools, we are able to proactively address environmental, social and economic considerations at the earliest stages of product development.
Though as happy as we are to share these successes, we are – as with all facets of our business – always actively searching for ways to improve our efforts. We know that conservation is an ongoing challenge that can never be fully overcome, just continuously improved upon.
We put a strong emphasis on innovation and emerging technologies in all aspects of our business – and recycling efforts are no exception. In fact, due to a focus on innovative recycling practices both internally and with our products in the marketplace, we have made significant strides over the years toward greater environmental responsibility.
Researching and re-educating, too.
Now, of course, some products are more conducive to recycling than others. Those made of glass, paper or metal lend themselves nicely to the practice. Others that have built-in component parts or that are made of materials that are not effectively reused for new products – like razors and batteries, for example – pose more of a challenge.
In the case of batteries, we initiated efforts to better educate consumers on how to make smarter choices for their specific device need. This helps maximize efficiency and helps them use fewer batteries – ultimately having a lower impact on the environment.
We have also partnered with others in the industry and with MIT to commission additional research on battery disposal and recycling to discover new ways to achieve sustainability in this area. Moreover, we have initiated stakeholder summits aimed at developing new solutions[PAGEBREAK]
as well. If there are additional ways to minimize the impact, the ever-challenging minds here are determined to find them.
The Green Machine.
Internally, a great example of our commitment to the environment is found in the Energizer Personal Care division.
EPC has challenged themselves to rescue the waste from manufacturing efforts and have had much success in their efforts. Led by a program called the Green Machine at Playtex®, they’ve taken 18.7 million pounds of waste out of landfills since 2009. Their overall recycling is up from 15% in 2006 to 85% in 2010. We are also happy to report the success has spread globally. Through the Green Machine’s work, there are already three plants in China, the U.S. and Germany that have achieved more than 90% recycling.