UNILEVER HAS announced that all its factories across Europe have now achieved zero non-hazardous waste to landfill sites. Factories across North America have already accomplished the zero non-hazardous waste status and this latest commitment means that over 75% of the company’s global factory network no longer send such waste to landfill, up from 20% just three years ago.
The global company has said that 100% Zero Non-Hazardous Waste to Landfill has been achieved at all European sites through the application of the "three Rs" principle: reduce, reuse and recycle. If solid waste cannot be eliminated, reused or recycled, it is sent for energy recovery instead of to a landfill.
One example of this in the UK is in Leeds where Unilever upgraded the Effluent Treatment Plant so that 1,000 tonnes of effluent could be sent and used as a fertiliser for professional football pitch turf, saving over £35, 000 per annum.
Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Unilever Chief Supply Chain Officer, said: “We have seen a rapid acceleration in converting the network to zero waste. In 2010, 52 sites were there. We have now reached 200 sites.
“We are on track to hit our revised target of 100% of sites by 2015, five years ahead of the original 2020 target. I am proud of the team effort which has got us to this milestone.”
Sigismondi added that a focus on eliminating waste from manufacturing processes in North America, Europe and a number of other countries has brought Unilever’s global target firmly in sight.
Under the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, by 2020 total waste sent for disposal is predicted to be below 2008 levels, despite the business growing significantly. On the 28 April 2014, Unilever will publish its Sustainable Living Report 2013 confirming that the company has reduced its total waste by 66% per tonne of production since 2008.
According to the company the cut down in the amount of hazardous waste being sent to landfill has also meant a cut in disposal costs for the company as they have made a saving of over €17 million (£14 million).