Skip to Main Content
Leaves and blue sky

SC Johnson Accelerates Pace to Meet Zero Waste to Landfill Goal

SC Johnson Manufacturing Plants Will Send Zero Manufacturing Waste to Landfills Ahead of 2021 Goal

Already, more than 65% of SC Johnson facilities have achieved the zero manufacturing waste to landfill distinction. 

“Our journey to zero waste to landfill is just part of our longstanding commitment to being a leader in sustainability…” – Fisk Johnson

RACINE, Wis., October 4, 2017 – SC Johnson is poised to do at most of its manufacturing facilities what for many families seems impossible to do at home – throw nothing out. The company announced today that it is ahead of schedule in meeting a goal to send zero manufacturing waste to landfill from its factories by 2021. Already, more than 65 percent of SC Johnson facilities have achieved the zero manufacturing waste to landfill distinction.

This year, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, became one of six SC Johnson manufacturing sites that successfully achieved zero manufacturing waste to landfill status. The company’s manufacturing sites in Toluca, Mexico; Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; Rosslyn, South Africa; Kiev, Ukraine; and Nairobi, Kenya, went a step further in 2017 and reached zero waste to landfill status – sending no waste at all, including waste from cafeterias and office buildings, to landfill.

“Our journey to zero waste to landfill is just part of our longstanding commitment to being a leader in sustainability and to serving the greater good,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “I’m proud of the hard work of SC Johnson people at our manufacturing plants all around the globe who have stepped up to help protect the environment for future generations, even in places where it wasn’t easy.”

SC Johnson has pledged to have all manufacturing sites send no waste to landfill by 2021. Five years ago, five of SC Johnson’s sites were zero manufacturing waste to landfill. Today, 17 SC Johnson sites are zero manufacturing waste to landfill and 14 of those sites are zero waste to landfill.

Accomplishing this goal requires ingenuity on the part of SC Johnson people in countries where recycling practices are just getting underway, or not an option at all. Some sites compost food waste to be used for landscaping; at others, wastewater is treated for use as fertilizer in parks and other natural spaces.

In Nairobi, Kenya, for example, it is not customary for people to segregate waste, because recycling and the infrastructure required are not widespread. People at the site were trained to separate waste into specially-marked containers and educated on the benefits of waste management. The site is now zero waste to landfill.

SC Johnson searches for all possible ways to eliminate waste that could otherwise be sent to landfills and follows a principled, targeted approach that includes reusing, industrial recycling, on-site wastewater treatment and composting. However, when these options are not possible, it considers incineration, or burning the waste, much of which recovers heat energy from the process. Incineration can present less of a long-term environmental impact compared to landfilling, especially in countries where landfills are unregulated, and particularly if the methane that landfills produce cannot be controlled or captured for energy.

“When you look at other landfills outside of industrialized nations, there is some concern about landfill management,” said Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President – Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at SC Johnson. “If we haven’t yet found a way to eliminate or divert waste, incineration provides better control and better technology than the long-term risk of landfilling.”

Companies often define zero waste to landfill in different ways. For SC Johnson, “zero means zero,” and the company also follows a strict definition of zero waste to landfill. The company requires that each site sustain zero waste to landfill for a set period of time. This also means municipal waste treatment only contributes to achieving zero waste if that waste is directed for composting or methane conversion. An exception is biohazard, medical or certain types of hazardous waste, which represent a small fraction of total global waste. Local legislation may require special disposal of such waste, including landfill.

Some companies may claim “zero waste” with an asterisk and a footnote, indicating they may permit small percentages of routine waste to go to landfill when it could have been diverted otherwise. SC Johnson does not.

Much of the company’s progress has been driven by SC Johnson people who have embraced a zero waste to landfill mindset, making it part of their culture. Manufacturing sites across the world formed “green teams” that are focused on eliminating, reusing or recycling waste destined for landfills.

About SC Johnson

SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE® and RIDSECT®. The 131-year-old company, which generates $10 billion in sales, employs approximately 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world.