Scotts Miracle-Gro Sustainability Report: Announces 50% Waste-to-Landfill, 20% CO2 Reduction Targets
Scotts Miracle-Gro has set sustainability goals including a 50 percent reduction in waste sent to landfill and a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2018 against a 2010 baseline, in its 2011 corporate sustainability report.
The waste and emissions goals will be normalized against net sales, the report says. The company has also set a goal to include 30 percent recycled or renewable content in its packaging by 2018.
Scotts’ operations emitted around 196,727 tons of CO2 in 2011, up almost 2.5 percent from 192,008 in 2010 – but the company’s third-party manufacturers and distribution network reported 141,819 tons of CO2 emissions in 2011, down over 22.5 percent from 183,324 in 2010. Overall when normalized against sales, the company recorded an 8 percent year-on-year reduction in greenhouse gasses from its supply chain (see graph below). Scotts chiefly attributes the reduction to reduced fuel use due to an increase in customer pick-up programs.
Distribution accounted for 38 percent of the company’s CO2 emissions in 2011, with 19 percent accounted for by fertilizer production and 16 percent by growing media. In 2009, the company began implementing a new distribution system in the U.S., aimed at reducing its delivery miles. According to the report, the resulting efficiency improvements contributed to a savings of 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel in 2010, the company’s baseline year.
Scotts plans to expand the distribution system to America’s northeast in 2012, and the distribution model should be fully implemented in the next several years.
A number of company renewable energy projects are scheduled to become operational in 2012. These include a solar array installed in Jackson, Ga., in December 2011, which is anticipated to generate about 134,000 kWh annually. The project is expected to provide about 7.8 percent of the facility’s energy demand and create an average annual savings of nearly $20,000, the report says.
In 2011, the gardening products company saw a 25 percent decrease in its total waste sent to landfill. Last year the company sent 7,088 tons to landfill compared to 9,518 tons in 2010. When this figure is normalized against sales, however, the amount of waste sent to landfill stayed flat at the 0.0035 tons per $1,000 of sales mark, the report says.
The growing media sector of Scotts’ business, which produces soils, composts and mulches, accounted for 42 percent of the waste it sent to landfill in 2011 – more than any other segment of the company. Contract manufacturing accounted for 26 percent of the waste and the fertilizers and distribution sectors accounted for 10 and 9 percent respectively.
Scotts says it has put a program in place to audit waste streams at its growing media facilities, which it hopes will identify opportunities to divert waste streams from landfills to recycling. Benefits from this program are expected in 2012.
Currently the firm runs four zero-waste-to-landfill facilities. All of them are growing media facilities. Three of the facilities were certified zero-waste-to-landfill in 2010, the fourth, in Lebanon, Conn., was certified in 2011.
The company also instigated a composting project at its Marysvile, Ohio, headquarters in 2010. Between August 2010 and August 2011, the program diverted more than 34 tons of waste from landfill, the report says.
The company has not provided figures for water use in the 2011 report. In started collecting such data in 2010, allowing the company to identify the three facilities that use the most water, and capture water use figures for these facilities.
To date, about 90 percent of Scotts Miracle-Gro’s high-density polyethylene liquids bottles contain around 25 percent of post-consumer recycled materials. The company estimates that this formulation has reduced virgin resin use by about 295 metric tons. In Europe, it reduced the film thickness of its growing media product bags by about 10 percent, reducing LDPE use by 120 metric tons and cutting a corresponding 408 metric tons of CO2.
In October 2011, Ford and Scotts announced that they were researching the use of coconut fiber reinforcement for molded plastic vehicle parts such as storage bins, door and seat trim, or center console substrates. The coconut husks are a waste stream from Scotts’ soil and grass seed products. The parts should reduce the use of petroleum and make the cars lighter, the companies said.
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