Major manufacturer Unilever has saved €200 million (£150 million) by sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill at its global factories.
This means that 240 factories in 67 countries are zero waste to landfill, apart from a small percentage of hazardous waste.
Unilever believes it is a global first for achieving zero waste on this scale.
Some examples of how it has achieved this include turning waste into building materials in Cote D’Ivoire and food waste in India is being composted and then given to local communities to grow vegetables.
To achieve its aims, Unilever has adopted a ‘four R’ approach, by reducing waste at source, reusing, recovering or recycling any non-hazardous waste that remains.
It has meant reconsidering every single material that is consumed in a factory, from reusing packaging materials from supplier deliveries to food waste from staff cafeterias.
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Unilever chief supply chain officer Pier Luigi Sigismondi (pictured) said: “Reaching this landmark is the result of a huge mind-set shift throughout our organisation and a great example of Unilever driving sustainable business growth.
“Thousands of employees – our ‘zero makers’ – from across the business have developed some really innovative solutions to eliminate waste. I am incredibly proud of what we and our partners have achieved.
“However, we cannot stop there. Our focus now is on becoming a zero waste company, and working towards a zero waste value chain by encouraging our suppliers and customers to join us on this mission. We are also committed to developing an open source approach and sharing our ‘zero waste framework’ and experience with other organisations to drive global change and create a more sustainable future.”