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Tom's of Maine

Goodness Report

Waste

We are trying to make the most of all materials we touch. Creative thinking in our manufacturing process is especially exciting. Our manufacturing team makes more than our products. They come up with some good ideas for how we can work better and waste less.

Striving to use every piece

We stick to waste principles — reduce, reuse, recycle, upcycle in all we do, including our work with our supply partners. For example, the process of packaging our deodorant revealed a new use for plastic waste.

  • After each canister is cut from a mold, scraps remain
  • Instead of throwing the scraps away, our supplier found a way to grind and reuse them to form the plastic elevators that push up our deodorant sticks
  • Every deodorant canister is recyclable from canister to cap as #5 plastic where facilities exist or through the Tom's of Maine Natural Care Brigade® with TerraCycle®

The best box is a reused box

What do you do with old boxes? Reusing them can be a key to avoiding waste. We like to use many of the boxes at our manufacturing facility over and over again, and our partners jump in to help us.

  • After we empty a box from our toothpaste box supplier we send it right back for refilling. The cycle repeats another eight to ten times until the box falls apart.
  • Not every vendor will take our boxes back and reuse them, so we've partnered with Rebox in those situations. Rebox buys our used boxes and resells them to companies needing the same size.

Manufacturing Facility Operations Manager Peter Duquette shows you how we reuse boxes.

Getting more from materials

Mistakes can happen. Our production line jams. Sometimes a toothpaste tube isn't filled correctly to our standards. In the process of quality control, we do find waste. But we also find ways to make it useful.

  • Employees pick up recyclable waste that they come across on the manufacturing facility floor and dump it all in special bins for six different types of recyclable materials
  • An employee once asked, "Why don't we use the bags our mouthwash bottles arrive in as trash bags?" Great idea! So now we do.
  • Throwing away old bags that contained our ingredients would be easy. But we would rather compress them for recycling. Shrink wrap, too!

Manufacturing Facility Operations Manager Peter Duquette gives one example of how we go the extra mile to recycle.

Progress snapshot

The responsibility that we feel to cut waste amounts to a tough challenge, but we're making progress. We're turning our manufacturing facility upside down to find even the smallest opportunities to recycle and reuse.

We wanted to make more progress toward our goal of increasing the percentage of manufacturing waste at our facility to recycled/reused, but new opportunities are harder to find, especially as we make more and more products. We've uncovered every possible item to recycle at our manufacturing facility. Now we'll focus on the future with an eye toward innovative materials ideas that are just now beginning to take shape. New materials that are more recyclable and environmentally friendly could open brand new doors for our waste reduction goals.

We do believe we can achieve zero waste to landfill at our manufacturing facility ahead of schedule and we expect to bring you exciting news about this in future editions of the Goodness Report.

Waste Goals Tracker

First slide

OUR GOAL: Reduce waste to landfill per ton of product manufactured at our Sanford, ME manufacturing facility. Progress in 2013 has already surpassed original 2015 goal of 75 kg/ton. A more ambitious goal for 2015 is now in the works on our way to zero waste to landfill by 2020.

See full Goals Tracker »

Waste Goals Tracker

First slide

OUR GOAL: Increase percentage of manufacturing waste at our Sanford, ME manufacturing facility to recycled/reused.

See full Goals Tracker »