Sustainability | Waste & Recycling

2015 Achievement


2022 goal

extend our zero
waste mindset to all
solid wastes and
deliver innovation
that keeps product
and packaging
material out of
landfill after use

See how we’re making a difference


A mindset
of value

We spoke with John Opsteen,
Kimberly-Clark’s Secondary
Materials Program Leader, about
the innovations that are keeping
waste out of landfills.

Q: What is Kimberly-Clark’s point
of view on waste and recycling?

We started talking internally about a zero-waste mindset as early as 1995.In the first decade, we were very focused on keeping manufacturing waste out of landfills but weren’t fully recognizing the value of these materials. Since then, we’ve come a long way toward realizing that value. By the end of 2015, we were diverting more than 95 percent of our manufacturing waste from landfills. And it’s not just about diverting waste from landfills but converting it into valuable opportunities. We’re now generating nearly twice as much revenue from the sale of material that was previously considered waste, than we spend on disposal.

Q: Could you explain the zero-waste mindset?

It’s about recognizing the value of materials that go into our products and packaging. Whenever we can find ways to reduce, reuse and recycle these materials, we’re keeping them in circulation – and out of the landfills. Even if they’re not being used by us, they can still be used by someone, somewhere. It’s up to us to find out how.

By doing this, we’re creating value for the entire supply chain and giving these materials a second life. It’s really an evolution from the linear mindset where you take, make and then dispose of things. We’re creating a more circular business model that allows us to recapture materials for reuse.


We’re now generating nearly twice as much revenue from the sale of material that was previously considered waste, than we spend on disposal.”

John Opsteen

Secondary Materials
Program Leader


A world of

We see endless opportunities in the products we make and through our partnerships all around the world.

Our thinking about sustainability doesn’t end when a product is sold. We’re continuously innovating to design products and packaging that are environmentally-friendly, efficient to produce, and that bring secondary value after use.

Here are some examples of how...



UK and US

Sometimes the different requirements for recycling various types of material – glass, plastic, metal, paper – can be confusing. To make it easier we’ve joined programs like On-Pack Recycling Label in the United Kingdom and How2Recycle™ in the United States, which provide simple, consistent recycling instructions for packaging.


Latin America

Together with Teletica, one of Costa Rica’s top TV stations, we established AmbientaDOS to help make the concept of “reuse and recycle” viable in Costa Rica.


North America and Europe

At Kimberly-Clark Professional we are helping customers divert used materials from landfills. Through the RightCycle program, we work with customers across more than 140 collection sites around the world to recycle used gloves and garments. RightCycle has grown from recycling just under two tons of material in 2011 to 101 tons in 2015.


Australia/New Zealand

To help people recycle flexible plastic packaging we partnered with the RED Group to start REDcycle. Now, more than 500 drop-off points across the two countries collect these materials. Through a partnership with local manufacturer Replas, the recycled plastic is being converted into useful products like outdoor park benches and playground equipment.

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