“We view ourselves as good corporate citizens.”
— Jim E., Director - EH&S, EPC, 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® 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.
Since 2007, we have been focused on conservation across four key areas: water usage, waste to landfills, greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage. One of the ways our colleagues have contributed has been environmental “Treasure Hunts” that enable our colleagues to seek and identify ways to improve the sustainability of our operations throughout the production floor.
For example, here are some of the initiatives we implemented in our Dover, Delaware, facility:
• Upgraded our lighting in various areas of the plant to T5 high output fluorescents
• Increased our compressed air storage capacity by 5,000 gallons
• Added time schedules to our lighting in areas that are not utilized 24/7
• Added LED lighting to many common areas such as the cafeteria, break rooms and some offices
• Integrated all nine (9) of our plant air compressors into one control system such that they run to meet the demand required
In the five years from 2007 to 2012, our colleagues' efforts enabled us to make significant reductions in all four categories through conservation and innovation.
|| Reduction Achieved Since 2007 |
| Greenhouse Gases
In 2012, we established five-year goals in these focus areas to further reduce our impact. Progress against these goals has been steady the last two years:
• Annual global energy usage reduced by 460 million kilowatt-hours
• Annual global greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 34,000 metric tons, equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 745 U.S. homes
• Energizer's largest U.S. plant recycled 8 million pounds of solid waste, equivalent to the average daily trash of 962 Americans
• Water usage at Energizer's largest U.S. plant decreased 12%
|| 2017 Goal
|| FY14 EHP Actual Performance |
| Greenhouse Gases
Better conservation through better information.
For Energizer Household Products, we decided that the best way to do more was to learn more. So we commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) 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. While the impact is low, we continue to look for innovative ways to further reduce the environmental impact of our products.
Additionally, we have been using the same LCA methods to improve the sustainability of our Energizer Personal Care products. From razors and blades to sun care and infant care products, we have been evaluating the improved environmental footprint of design, material and packaging changes. This information has allow us to implement many improvements that have reduced greenhouse gas emissions, water use, energy user, use of petroleum products and landfill waste.
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 this, 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.
“The three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are at the core of our sustainability efforts, and we have placed great emphasis on Recycling throughout all of our operations.”
— Mike O., Program Director, RD&E, EPC, U.S.
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.
These efforts have yielded great results and have also prompted many of our facilities to work with third-party recycling companies that collect the various waste from our operations, separate it, clean it and re-sell it to companies that will manufacture other products. For example, our plastic waste could end up as a trash bin or picnic table!
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 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 and have had much success in their efforts. Led by a program called the Green Machine, we continue to drive Continuous Improvement within our recycling program and the cumulative results are impressive. Since inception in April 2008, we have diverted (recycle + trash to energy) over 50 million pounds of non-hazardous solid waste from landfills. [PAGEBREAK]
Besides Sustainability impact, the program also provides consistent economic benefit from cost avoidance (landfill tipping fees), and reduction of disposal footprint (dock spaces, waste container rentals, compactor fees) while in most cases generating revenue from the recycle streams. A true win-win for the Environment and EPC.
Our facilities in Solingen, Germany; Guangzhou, China; and Sri Lanka are now landfill free and our sites in Milford, Connecticut; Walkerton, Canada; Asheboro, North Carolina; and Dover, Delaware, are approaching landfill free.