SC Johnson Sustainability Report: Solid Waste Drops 2 Points

From 2010 to 2011, SC Johnson reduced its waste output by 2 percentage points, as the company aimed to reduce its solid waste by 70 percent of 2000 levels by 2016. Since the baseline year, the maker of Glade, Pledge, Windex and Off! products has decreased its global manufacturing waste by 57 percent, according to its latest sustainability report.

In 2012, 10 of SC Johnson’s manufacturing facilities, including factories in North America, Asia, Latin America and Africa, achieved diversion rates of at least 90 percent. Five SC Johnson sites are considered zero-landfill: two in China and one facility each in Pakistan, the Netherlands and the US, the report says.

Among SC Johnson’s other 2016 environmental objectives are goals for decreasing packaging overall, increasing the use of post-consumer-recycled materials, and offsetting virgin material use. Its partnership with Recyclebank, which put recycling bins in 50 US communities and tries to increase recycling through consumer messaging, helped the company surpass its year-one target for offsetting virgin material use. In the US, 6.8 percent of virgin material use was offset in the 2011/12 fiscal year, the report says.

By 2016, the company is hoping to increase the post-consumer recycled content used across its packaging to 30 percent, decrease the packaging used across product lines by five percent and offset 30 percent of the virgin material it uses through packaging advances and “innovative partnerships.”

By 2011, SC Johnson reduced its absolute global greenhouse gas emissions by 26.2 percent compared to its baseline year 2000, surpassing a target of a 12 percent reduction by 2010. But, according to the company’s 2010 report, the company had reduced this metric by 26.2 percent in 2010, showing that progress flatlined year-on-year.

When indexed to production SC Johnson had reduced this metric by 42 percent by 2011. The report does not include normalized figures for earlier years.

In 2011, the company drew 29.9 percent of its energy from renewable sources. This is a new measurement, as prior to this year the company reported the percentage of its electricity drawn from renewable sources, rather than the proportion of all of its energy.

With the construction of two 415-foot-tall wind turbines at Waxdale – the company’s largest manufacturing facility, located in Mt. Pleasant, Wisc. – SC Johnson will be able to generate, on average, 100 percent of that site’s electrical energy onsite.

The wind turbines will produce about eight million kWh of electricity per year. The remainder of Waxdale’s electrical energy is provided by two cogeneration units installed during the last decade. These units produce electrical energy and steam, using landfill gases and natural gas.

Together, the turbines and cogeneration systems enable Waxdale to reduce carbon emissions associated with powering the facility by 6,000 metric tons annually, the report says.

Since 2001, SC Johnson scientists have been using the company’s internally developed Greenlist environmental classification process to select ingredients. The goal is that, beyond meeting legal and regulatory requirements, the Greenlist process will help SC Johnson annually increase the proportion of ingredients in its products that have a lesser impact on the environment and human health.

Each potential ingredient is rated as “Best,” “Better,” “Acceptable” or “0-rated,” for materials that can be used only in special circumstances. Since 2001, SJ Johnson has increased the percentage of “Better” or “Best” ingredients from 18 percent to 50 percent.

In September 2012, cleaning products made by SC Johnson, Clorox and Reckitt Benckiser were among hundreds that received failing grades in an online safety and disclosure guide published by the Environmental Working Group. The online guide covers more than 2,000 household cleaners.

The non-profit’s staff scientists spent 14 months examining product labels, company websites and technical documents to determine chemicals used in household products. EWG staff reviewed each ingredient against 15 US and international toxicity databases and numerous scientific and medical journals.