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Aveda Sustainability Report: Company Halves Municipal Waste

Cosmetics brand Aveda says it cut municipal waste at its main manufacturing plant nearly in half in the last two years, but its industrial waste rose in that time and recycling fell.

Between 2008 and 2010, municipal waste output from Aveda’s Blaine, Minn. headquarters fell 48 percent, to 250,900 lb, according to the firm’s sustainability report.

Industrial waste rose eight percent to 262,147 lb per year.

Aveda says industrial waste, which mostly results from product destruction, may have  risen due to sales falling short of forecasts.

The company’s output of hazardous waste fell by five percent. But at the end of the 2010 financial year, Aveda discovered it had released glycol ethers into its wastewater, in excess of Environmental Protection Agency requirements. No corrective actions have been taken against the company, the report said.

Recycling and re-use fell 16 percent, although corrugate recycling improved. “The decrease in the recycled and reused category is somewhat surprising and, at the time of this writing, the reasons for this are not fully clear,” the report said.

In the past two years Aveda became a net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter through green energy purchases and carbon offsets, the company said. Its gross GHG emissions also fell 13 percent, to 12 million pounds of CO2.

Electricity use measured as MJ per Kg of production dropped 20 percent in that time.

The company says it has made energy efficiency upgrades every year since 1994. Most recently, it replaced T8 lamps with higher efficiency T5 fixtures.

An efficiency audit, run together with the firm’s electric utility, found that Aveda’s best energy-saving opportunity lies in replacing inefficient heat exchangers. Aveda says it has included this project in its capital program, and will replace the exchangers as their useful life ends.

Aveda this year finalized sustainability criteria for raw material suppliers. The company has a goal for half of suppliers to meet these criteria by 2012.

Aveda is a subsidiary of Estée Lauder Companies, and was the second U.S. company to qualify for Cradle to Cradle holistic certification.

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