PLEASANTON, CALIF. (April 18, 4:30 p.m. ET) — Kimberly-Clark Corp. and recycler TerraCycle are starting a pilot program to add gloves to the mix of garments that are being recycled in the 6-month-old hospital clean room and laboratory garment recycling initiative begun by the two companies in October.
Since the program began, participating clean rooms and laboratories have sent in more than 7,000 pounds of garment waste, including coveralls, hoods, boot covers, hair nets, and masks. Those products are then recycled into products such as plastic lumber, park benches, and picnic tables.
Participating locations have requested more than 1,000 pallets of collection boxes to return additional garments, signifying that collections are on track to reach more than 350,000 pounds in coming months, said TerraCycle and Kimberly-Clark Professional in announcing the expansion of the program April 18.
“By working toward a point where we're enabling pharmaceutical manufacturing and clean room facilities to recycle gloves in addition to other clean room garments, we're extending our commitment to the customer and to the environment,” said Randy Kates, director of Global Scientific Business for Kimberly-Clark Professional.
The clean room recycling program put in place by TerraCycle and Kimberly-Clark is believed to be the first large-scale recycling system to be implemented for non-traditional clean room waste. Kimberly-Clark Professional specializes in contamination control solutions for clean rooms and laboratories. It is part of Kimberly-Clark Corp.
Life Technologies Corporation, a life sciences leader with 15 manufacturing sites in the U.S., is piloting a nitrile glove recycling program with Kimberly-Clark Professional, TerraCycle and Thermo Fisher Scientific, which supplies the gloves as well as all recycling program materials.
Employees at Life Technologies' Pleasanton, Calif., facility started recycling gloves in December to support the goal of becoming the first of the company's sites to achieve zero waste to landfill.
“In 2011, our Pleasanton manufacturing site raised its landfill diversion rate from 37 to 83 percent, and in early 2012 we expect to reach over 90 percent,” said Eve Nichelini, Glove and Garment Recycling Program Manager for Life Technologies. “The recycling program with TerraCycle, Kimberly-Clark Professional and Thermo Fisher Scientific is critical to meeting this goal because gloves account for a significant percentage of Pleasanton's total waste. All of Life Technologies U.S. sites are now considering glove recycling through this innovative program.”
“The launch of the [garment recycling] program last fall was a tremendous success [and] shows a need for recycling in this area, as well an industry desire to give a second life to garments and gloves,” said TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky.
Companies can order the recycling program through approved Kimberly-Clark Professional distributors and receive a package with everything required to initiate garment recycling in their facilities. A bar code system allows Kimberly-Clark Professional to track waste reduction and report that information back to each facility, allowing customers to quantify their reduced environmental footprint.
TerraCycle collects, converts, and resells all waste materials as either bulk plastics or as consumer products made with recycled content.
With more than 20 million people collecting waste in 17 countries TerraCycle has diverted billions of units of waste and used that diverted waste to create more than 1,500 different products available at major retailers.