Kimberly-Clark Professional has expanded its innovative recycling program - RightCycle by Kimberly-Clark Professional - to manufacturing and other industrial environments, enabling these customers to divert non-hazardous waste, such as nitrile gloves and apparel, from landfills.
RightCycle is the first large-scale recycling program for non-hazardous lab, cleanroom and industrial waste. Since its launch in 2011, the program has diverted more than 300 tons of waste from landfills. The items are sent to recyclers in the United States and turned into nitrile powder and pellets that are used to create eco-responsible consumer products and durable goods, such as flowerpots and lawn furniture, benches and bicycle racks.
"By recycling rather than discarding nitrile gloves and single-use apparel, customers can divert these hard-to-recycle waste streams from the landfill in order to get one step closer to achieving their zero waste goals while reducing their waste disposal costs at the same time," said John R. Adams, industrial business leader, Kimberly-Clark Professional. "In addition, we are helping to give our safety and industrial products a second life."
RightCycle enables customers to recycle thin mil nitrile gloves, apparel (including accessories such as hoods, masks, shoe covers and other items) and Kimtech Pure 100 percent polypropylene wipers. To qualify for the program, the items must be free of hazardous materials, biohazards and wet food.
"As a rule of thumb, if our personal protective equipment products, such as nitrile gloves and apparel, are being disposed of as regular trash versus hazardous waste, then we can likely accept them," Adams added.
California Success Story
Participants in the RightCycle Program have reaped many benefits and one - Lundberg Family Farms of Richvale, Calif. - credits the program with helping it achieve a Platinum Zero Waste Facility Certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council.
Gloves previously represented about 15 percent of the company's landfill waste, so switching to Kimberly-Clark Professional gloves and the RightCycle program was an easy decision. The company now expects to divert four tons of glove waste annually.
"The changeover was really painless," said Ashley Vega, the company's sustainability specialist. "And our employees are actively recycling the gloves - even more than we anticipated."
Sustainability is a big part of the family-owned company's culture. "Our company is committed to nourishing a healthier planet and protecting the environment for generations to come," Vega added. "This expands our solid waste reduction and recycling efforts."
Lundberg Family Farms recycled close to one ton of nitrile gloves in its first few months in the RightCycle program. "You're either throwing the gloves away or giving them a second life. The latter is always better," Vega said.
In addition to the industrial program launch, Kimberly-Clark Professional is continuing to expand the RightCycle program - bringing it to Western Europe and exploring expansion in other regions. For more information, visit www.KCProfessional.com/rightcycle