Kimberly-Clark Professional, a company that provides contamination control solutions for cleanrooms and laboratories, has expanded the RIghtCycle program, the first large-scale recycling effort for non-hazardous waste from laboratories, cleanrooms and industrial personal protective equipment (PPE). Flexible film plastic packaging for Kimtech and KleenGuard products will now be accepted for recycling under the program.
“This is an important step in tackling a challenging waste stream that currently has very low recycling rates compared to other products, such as paper and cardboard,” said Mike Haley, Vice President of PPE at Kimberly-Clark Professional. “As the program continues to grow and evolve, we remain committed to finding ways to expand our recycling capabilities to help our customers achieve their goals and achieve our goal of better care for a better world. “
Since 2011, the RightCycle program has helped more than 900 customers divert 3.7 million pounds of waste, according to the company.
Films and flexible packaging are composed of various substances and their recycling requires a specific approach. In 2019, only 5% of managed plastic waste in the United States was recycled, according to scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The RightCycle program has established partnerships and processes to properly recycle these items.
In addition to plastic packaging waste, the RightCycle program collects previously difficult-to-recycle PPE such as clothing, masks, gloves and goggles. These items are then recycled by regional partners who create new plastic pellets, which are used to make consumer products and durable goods, including flower pots and garden furniture, benches and bike racks.
Originating in the United States with a few scientific manufacturing customers, the RightCycle program is now available in nine countries across Europe and North America with a wide range of customers including universities, zoos, laboratories, manufacturing facilities , breweries and a variety of other businesses. .
The RightCycle program contributes to Kimberly-Clark’s 2030 global ambition, which is to improve the lives of one billion people in underserved communities around the world with the smallest environmental footprint. Kimberly-Clark says she understands that a strong and lasting focus on safeguarding natural systems is equally essential to helping people live better lives. To this end, the company is focusing on the areas where it can make the biggest difference: climate, forests, water and plastics.
Kimberly-Clark aspires to be at the forefront of the transition to a circular economy of reuse by reducing waste, promoting improved waste treatment systems and innovating new ways to provide people with the products they need. they need to live their best lives, the company says. . In 2021, the company expanded the RightCycle program in Europe to other categories to include the recycling of plastic dispensers and hand towels. According to Kimberly-Clark, this will provide the company with an even greater opportunity to reduce its environmental footprint in collaboration with its customers.