Manufacturing News, Sustainability

Australian manufacturer reaches zero-waste milestone

One of South Australia’s leading manufacturers, Kimberly-Clark Australia (K-CA), has diverted 100 per cent of waste away from landfill through reuse and recycling initiatives at its Mill in Millicent. 

Known for its portfolio of leading personal care brands, including Kleenex, Huggies, U by Kotex and VIVA, the company produces 85,000 tonnes of toilet, facial and paper towel products at the Mill each year.

Mill Manager at Kimberly-Clark Australia, Adam Carpenter, said the company is thrilled about the achievement. 

“We’re thrilled about the strides made at Millicent Mill in achieving zero waste across our operations. Sustainability has always been a core value for us, and this accomplishment is not only significant for our team but also for the broader Australian manufacturing sector – as it demonstrates that this is possible,” said Carpenter.

K-CA has achieved this zero-waste milestone through several key initiatives.

All organic-based materials including off-quality tissue boxes, loose cardboard, off-quality lotion-treated tissue, and cardboard cores are responsibly managed offsite through composting practices.

Used fabrics and felts are offered to employees and the wider community for reuse, with any remaining material sent to Gambier Earth Movers for landscaping purposes. 

The Mill also actively collects used batteries onsite, which are then bulked and recycled locally.  

The Mill has initiated a program for collecting used plastic pails (made of HDPE) for the Eucalyptus element of key products, as well as damaged plastic pallets for our supply chain. 

These materials are transported to Sustainable Plastic Solutions in Hamilton, where they undergo cleaning and processing into chips for recycling.  

Having reached 98 per cent of waste reduction last year, K-CA recently partnered with Waste ResourceCo, which is now repurposing the final two per cent of waste into energy for its site in Adelaide. 

Looking forward to the future, Kimberly-Clark has targets to drive efficiencies and reduce emissions further.

Its electricity cogeneration facility at Millicent Mill plays a critical role in energy efficiency, capable of generating 95 per cent of electricity on-site. 

Additionally, the company is now exploring the opportunity to use green hydrogen as an alternative energy source too. 

Moving forward, Carpenter said K-CA remains committed to furthering the company’s environmental effort in the hope of inspiring other Australian manufacturing companies.

“Having surpassed our initial greenhouse gas reduction goal early in 2022, our current focus is on reducing our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50 per cent, by 2030. As of 2023 we’ve achieved over 30 per cent in reduction efforts, so we’re well on-track and actively exploring various avenues to drive this figure even lower in the years to come.  

“We take pride in our Australian manufacturing base, and we hope our efforts inspire others to prioritise sustainability and contribute to our collective goal of preserving our planet,” said Carpenter.

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