The 3M plant in Hutchinson, Minnesota has a long track record of reusing and recycling the by-products generated during the manufacturing of Scotch® Magic™ Tape, Scotch® Painter’s Tapes and other 3M products. This continuous improvement mindset was critical when the facility decided to pursue zero waste to landfill.
The journey to zero landfill required the plant to find homes for several unique materials. For example, the plant used to send silicone coated paper liners to the landfill or to a waste to energy (WTE) provider. Now, these liners are shipped to a third-party recycling partner. This project shifted 125 tons (250,000 lbs) of waste from landfill/WTE to recycle annually. The plant was also able to successfully tackle foam end boards, a type of packaging material used to protect large rolls of material that was being sent to waste to energy. Now, 2400 foam end boards/year are reused by a sister 3M plant.
Over 150,000 clean room hair and beard nets are now recycled annually, and the drive to recycle and reuse materials also led to an innovative solution for 25.6 tons (51,200 pounds) of activated carbon from a solvent recovery system. Previously, spent activated carbon was landfilled, but the team found a carbon generation facility that could recycle the material and provide some regenerated carbon to reuse in the Hutchinson system.
This quest to drive by-products “up the waste hierarchy” led to the recycling of 650 tons (1.3 million pounds) of end cuts and “logs” that had previously been sent to a waste to energy facility.
Overall, this achievement contributes to 3M’s corporate Sustainability goal to achieve “zero landfill” status at more than 30 percent of manufacturing sites by 2025. Congratulations, Team Hutchinson!