Every consumer goods company generates some material that cannot be used or sold. At P&G, that material ranges from shampoo wash-out and wood pulp to outdated mascara. But through our GARP program, we keep such materials from disposal by determining creative alternate uses.
Much more than recycling, GARP (Global Asset Recovery Purchases) turns “garbage into good.” Elsewhere in our industry, most of these materials would be considered waste, destined either for landfill or incineration. But thanks to GARP, they are used and often sold for re-use, thereby reducing raw material consumption by other companies.
Our GARP team is charged with finding external partners who can turn waste and non-performing inventory into something useful. So when a P&G site has something they haven’t been able to recycle, GARP steps in to help.
In the last year alone, this small group of garbage gurus has diverted tens of thousands of tons from landfills and has delivered tens of millions of dollars in cost recovery to the company by selling or donating materials to others who can reuse the materials.
At P&G, over 96% of the material we use is converted into finished product—but the GARP team works hard to find a good home for the rest. Here are just a few examples:
China: Softer, Younger-Looking Leather
Converting facial cream components for use in leather care is one of many examples across China where each of P&G’s seven mainland distribution centers worked together to find a path to re-use. The facilities collaborated to develop a standard operating procedure for recycling that classifies all of P&G finished goods into one of 19 categories. They then developed a recycling process for each category. As a result, P&G China Distribution Centers are now keeping 97% of all scrap materials out of landfills.
Budapest, Hungary: Making Energy from Scraps
In Budapest, GARP teams are using scrap feminine pads to fuel kilns at a local cement factory, reducing the factory’s energy consumption and P&G’s disposable waste. Each year, the plant generates scrap material in the making of Always and Naturella pads, including off-spec product, end runs and out-dated material.
The teams found that when shredded, the scraps burn exceptionally well. Budapest now has two shredders on site, and is selling its scrap to a local cement maker who mixes it with other combustibles to keep his kilns running.
U.S.: Hubcaps a Dentist Would Love?
Ingredients used in Crest and Gleem toothpastes have found a new life as an additive in wheel polish—and now jewelry cleaners.
Outdated or off-spec ingredients used to make Crest and Gleem toothpaste in once considered scrap, now are shared with a U.S. company that blends them into a formula to make high-performance polish for magwheels and jewelry. The cleaners are still in production. The partnership is saving P&G incineration and disposal costs, and eliminating the partner company’s use of raw materials.
U.S.: Metamucil Helping Grass Grow
A key ingredient in Metamucil is being recycled for soil retention in landscaping projects across the U.S.
Metamucil capsules contain psyllium husk, a natural dietary fiber originating from the psyllium plant, which relieves constipation and can lower blood cholesterol levels.
During the manufacturing process, a psyllium byproduct is created that typically is considered waste. GARP teams have found that when it is mixed with water and sprayed on developing landscapes, it helps with soil retention, giving grass a chance to take root and grow.