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Tom’s of Maine Sustainability Report: Zero-Waste-to-Landfill Aim for 2020

Tom’s of Maine is aiming to send zero waste to landfill per ton of product made at its Maine manufacturing site by 2020, according to its newly launched “Goodness Report” web site.

The site, a de facto sustainability report, features details on the toiletry company’s 2011 benchmarking along with 2015 and 2020 goals covering waste production, carbon emissions, packaging and ingredients.

In 2011, Tom’s Sanford, Maine, manufacturing facility produced 90 kg of waste per ton of product. This figure was 5 percent less than in 2010, the report says. The company diverted just over half of its total waste from the manufacturing facility via reuse (26 percent) and recycling (25 percent) in 2011. By 2015, the company is aiming to reduce the waste production figure to 75kg of waste per ton of product, as it moves towards the 2020 goal.

Examples of waste reuse include a project by the company’s toothpaste tube supplier, which delivers empty tubes to the Sanford site in corrugated totes. Tom’s returns these totes to the supplier for repeated reuse. Examples of recycling include the company’s practice of compressing all of its stretch wrap, so that its recycler can sell the plastic into the recycling stream.

The Sanford facility is aiming to recycle or reuse 70 percent of its waste by 2020, compared to a 51 percent 2011 baseline, the report says. In August, the company partnered with recycling company TerraCycle to start a free recycling program, which accepts toothpaste tubes and caps, mouthwash bottles and caps, deodorant/antiperspirant containers, plastic soap wrappers and floss containers, regardless of brand.

The company is aiming to reduce its normalized water consumption by over 40 percent by 2020, from 4.3 cubic meters per ton of product in 2011 to 2.5 in 2020, with an interim 2015 goal of 3.2 cubic meters per ton of product.

Tom’s has tried using a clean-in-place system for its manufacturing equipment, recirculating water during a cleaning cycle to reduce overall water usage. However, this was not as effective as the company had hoped it would be, the report says.

Tom’s is aiming to cut its normalized carbon emissions by almost 33 percent between 2011 and 2020. In 2011, the company released 283 kg of CO2 per ton of product.

Currently the electricity used at the Sanford facility is 100 percent offset by Green-e Certified renewable energy credits from wind power. The comapny’s offices in Kennebunk, Maine, on the Mousam River, are partially powered by hydroelectricity. Tom’s is a member of the EPA Green Power Partnership.

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