For Position Only
Total investment in waste reduction:
$3.5 million
Waste per Metric Ton of Production (mt/mt)
Waste per Metric Ton of Production (mt/mt)

Striving toward Zero Waste

In 2011, Kimberly-Clark updated its waste minimization and landfill elimination policy to reflect our dedication to reaching our Sustainability 2015 goal of sending zero manufacturing waste to landfill.

Disposing of waste in landfills is not a long-term solution, nor is it cost-effective. It wastes potentially valuable secondary materials and costs Kimberly-Clark millions of dollars in landfill tipping fees.

2011 Progress toward Zero Manufacturing Waste to Landfill

Of our facilities, 48 percent have already met our 2015 goal of sending zero manufacturing waste to landfill. Our global nonwovens facilities have been virtually landfill-free for a decade, and they continue to make advances in recycling their manufacturing waste into new Kimberly-Clark products. At the end of 2011, 62 percent of global nonwovens manufacturing waste was either reused or recycled by Kimberly-Clark.

In September 2011, Kimberly-Clark's Jaromer Mill, in the Czech Republic, achieved its target of sending zero manufacturing waste to landfill through a mixture of waste reuse, recycling and conversion to energy. With this milestone, the entire Personal Care Europe sector, including the Barton and Flint mills in the U.K., the Calatayud Mill, in Spain, and the Jaromer Mill, has achieved Kimberly-Clark's Sustainability 2015 zero waste to landfill goal.

Approximately 94 percent of the waste generated by our U.S. Personal Care mills did not go to landfill. As a business unit, the Personal Care mills have set internal targets to continually drive their scrap materials up the solid waste hierarchy—reduce, reuse, recycle, recover energy. In 2011, U.S. Personal Care mills recycled 76 percent of their manufacturing scrap, up from 69 percent in 2010. The mills diverted 17 percent of total waste to energy generation, a reduction from our 2010 achievement of 26 percent. This reduction is the result of our efforts to find higher-value recycling outlets for materials that have historically been used as a source of energy.

Addressing the Challenges of Zero Manufacturing Waste to Landfill

Despite our efforts, we sent more manufacturing waste to landfill in 2011, and 52 percent of our facilities, representing 20 percent of our waste, have some way to go before achieving our Sustainability 2015 goal. While we have made progress, we plan to step up our efforts in 2012 and subsequent years.

Waste by Type
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Nonhazardous Waste (million mt) 1.35 1.54 1.48 1.44 1.46
% of total waste 99.97% 99.97% 99.97% 99.95% 99.97%
Landfilled 21.6% 22.4% 19.8% 18.2% 21.4%
Recycled 24.9% 20.0% 20.0% 20.9% 21.1%
Beneficial use 24.5% 21.8% 22.5% 22.9% 20.5%
Converted to energy 12.0% 13.6% 19.4% 20.5% 19.3%
Reused and other 5.0% 9.0% 9.6% 11.6% 13.9%
Composted 7.0% 7.6% 5.5% 4.8% 3.1%
Incinerated 4.9% 5.7% 3.2% 1.0% 0.7%
Hazardous Waste (kg) 392,707 399,693 385,762 655,071 500,981
% of total waste 0.03% 0.03% 0.03% 0.05% 0.03%
Biological treatment 0.0% 0.2% 18.3% 52.9% 29.8%
Recycled 42.2% 43.6% 22.0% 17.7% 29.6%
Incineration without heat recovery 41.4% 33.7% 33.4% 14.9% 22.3%
Chemical treatment 7.1% 13.4% 5.7% 10.4% 11.5%
Surface impoundment 0.7% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 3.6%
Thermal treatment 1.9% 0.0% 0.5% 1.8% 1.1%
Permanent storage 0.4% 0.0% 0.2% 0.0% 0.8%
Landfilled 3.5% 4.1% 17.7% 2.0% 0.8%
Blended fuel 3.0% 5.0% 2.1% 0.3% 0.4%
Deep well injection 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

N/A: Data not available
Data represents K-C and equity affiliates

Our primary waste stream that still requires landfill is tissue mill sludge from recycled fiber deinking operations, which accounts for approximately 90 percent of our manufacturing waste going to landfill. Diaper tailings from manufacturing facilities represent the remaining 10 percent. Many mills have successfully diverted sludge from landfill. Some current sludge uses include: animal bedding along with digestion to create energy; soil amendment; newsprint and corrugate manufacturing; building and insulation products; solidification agents for waste liquids; and fuel for steam boilers. Several innovative companies are using our sludge to make adobe-style bricks and other building components. These firms have won numerous innovation awards and have plans to expand their manufacturing capability globally.

In 2011, we formed an open innovation team combining the inventive strength of internal and external partners to identify cost-neutral, enterprise-wide technology solutions for sludge that will deliver our 2015 goal. We expect to begin to see the impact of the team's work in 2012. For example, in 2011, our Enstra Mill, in South Africa, reverted to landfilling waste after a local brick manufacturer could no longer use the mill's by-products. A waste-to-energy system to be installed in 2012 will reduce waste to landfill by 25,000 metric tons. We are looking at non-landfill applications at our Loudon, Tennessee, Mill through a number of opportunities. We continue to explore reuse opportunities for waste streams in Latin America and Europe.

In the Products pillar of this site, we provide information on our efforts to address postconsumer waste, which represents a significant portion of the waste impact of our products over their lifecycles. We also review our initiatives to reduce packaging waste.

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Reduction in water use and maintain quality of discharge

Using a 2010 baseline, we have reduced our absolute water consumption by nearly 1 percent while maintaining water quality.

Fiber from certified suppliers

Nearly 100 percent of our fiber is sourced from third-party-certified suppliers such as the Forest Stewardship Council.

Absolute reduction in GHG

We reduced our absolute global greenhouse gas emissions by over 1 percent, based on a 2010 baseline, primarily driven by lower production levels at our mills.

manufacturing waste to landfill

Under 22 percent of our waste is currently sent to landfills, and our global nonwovens facilities have been virtually landfill-free for a decade.

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