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Cell Signaling Technology recycles 4,400 pounds of glove waste through innovative programme
As a life sciences company, Cell Signaling Technology uses about 200,000 pairs of gloves each year. But that glove waste no longer goes into a landfill. CST diverts it through an innovative programme that has enabled the company to recycle more than 4,400 pounds of gloves, which are then turned into flowerpots, lawn furniture and other products.
How has the company accomplished this? Through RightCycle by Kimberly-Clark Professional, the first large-scale recycling programme for non-hazardous lab, cleanroom and industrial waste. CST began participating in the programme in 2014.
"Reducing our environmental footprint has long been a core company value," says sustainability coordinator Elias Witman. "So finding a way to reduce the volume of glove waste was an important goal for us."
Instead of being discarded, used lab gloves are sent to domestic recyclers to be turned into raw materials that are used to make a wide array of products.
Participating in The RightCycle Programme is part of the everyday routine for CST employees. General use labs have highly visible recycling boxes with signage explaining how the gloves recycling programme works. "It is explained in new employee training, and it's become second nature - like throwing a plastic bottle in a recycling bin," says Elias.
The RightCycle Programme has diverted more than 400 tons of waste from landfills since its launch in 2011. It removes gloves, masks, garments, shoe covers and other apparel accessories from the waste stream and turns them into plastic pellets. These are then used to create eco-responsible consumer products and durable goods, such as shelving, totes and storage bins.
Randy Kates, director of the Kimberly-Clark Professional Global Scientific Business, explains: "We created The RightCycle Program because we recognised that our pharmaceutical and university customers wanted to reduce landfill waste, and single-use gloves made up a significant portion of that waste.
"So we developed a recycling solution that helps them achieve their sustainability goals, while positively engaging their employees in the process."
The RightCycle Programme has helped CST reduce the costs of waste removal and move closer toward its goal of zero waste to landfill.
Says Elias: "We're glad to have made an impact on our waste profile and to have the lab gloves repurposed for safe, practical products.
"The RightCycle Programme is highly visible and practical. People see it and want to participate. Programmes like this can help shape a culture of sustainability in the lab and yield positive impacts for the planet."
CST is a private, family-owned company, headquartered in Massachusetts, the US and with offices in the Netherlands, China and Japan.
15th June 2017