In this episode of NothingWasted!, we chat with Mayur Valanju, VP of product development and innovation, Kimberly-Clark Professional (KCP). Its RightCycle program “takes recycling personal protection equipment (PPE) to a new level” by collecting hard-to-recycle used PPE at customers’ facilities and turning them into new consumer goods.
Waste360 spoke with Mayur about this program, how companies can champion sustainability and circularity and more.
Here’s a sneak peek into the discussion:
Waste360: What are the biggest challenges you’ve had rolling out a program like RightCycle?
Valanju: The biggest challenge is: it does take change in behavior from a customer perspective. They have to go in and change their workflow, and people are used to just throwing stuff into one bin, right? So you have to train employees to put stuff in certain bins. Often times in the sorting center, we do have impurities at first — so we’ll work together with customers to get it as pure as we can. The biggest challenge across the board is, “how do you presort as best you can?” and then getting those logistics set up in the most economical way.
Waste360: What do Kimberly-Clark’s larger sustainability goals look like?
Valanju: This is a piece of it. But we have a variety of goals including: reducing our plastic footprint by 50%, reducing our natural forest fiber by 50%, and reducing our water footprint by 50%. So we have a variety of initiatives to reach these goals. For instance for KCP, 100% of our North American grid electricity is offset by wind farms. And we have programs beyond RightCycle looking at how we can use more bio-based plastics and different types of inputs where we can still provide great products to our end users that allow their lives to be better on a daily basis — but do it in a way that we continue to have environmental sustainability at the forefront of our thoughts.
Waste360: What’s next around RightCycle or your sustainability goals?
Valanju: With RightCycle, we are looking to expand the customer base in North America and Europe — and looking to see what other geographies we should set this up in. Secondarily, we are looking at the products. For instance, in Latin America, we have a “dispenser hospital” to see how we can refurbish dispensers that have come off the wall and get those back in the market. We’ll continue to expand and do pilots in different product categories, including textiles.
Waste360: How can listeners get involved with, or learn more about, RightCycle?
Valanju: To learn more, we encourage people visit here. There’s a way to put your name in, and if you want to sign up as an end customer, we’d love to talk to you. We’d love to tell you more about the program; any detail that you would like.