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Kimberly-Clark’s RightCycle Takes Gloves Out of the Landfill

Julie Copeland

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At Arbill, we’re proud to include Kimberly-Clark products among the 200,000 work and safety products we offer to our customers. We are particularly proud of the work Kimberly-Clark is doing to create a sustainable future.

Last month, we talked about how Kimberly-Clark’s WypAll Wipes have been designed to reduce their environmental footprint and promote the use of sustainable forest materials.

With its RightCycle recycling program, Kimberly-Clark is also thinking about what happens to their products after they leave the shelves.

RightCycle enables customers to recycle thin mil nitrile gloves, apparel (including accessories such as hoods, masks, shoe covers and other items) and Kimtech Pure 100 percent polypropylene wipers. For a product to qualify for the RightCycle Recycling program, the items must be free of hazardous materials, biohazards and wet food.


"As a rule of thumb, if our personal protective equipment products, such as nitrile gloves and apparel, are being disposed of as regular trash versus hazardous waste, then we can likely accept them," said John R. Adams, industrial business leader, Kimberly-Clark Professional.

RightCycle is the first large-scale recycling program for non-hazardous lab, cleanroom and industrial waste. Since its launch in 2011, the program has diverted more than 400 tons of waste from landfills. The items are sent to recyclers in the United States and turned into nitrile powder and pellets that are used to create eco-responsible consumer products and durable goods, such as flowerpots and lawn furniture, benches and bicycle racks.

"By recycling rather than discarding nitrile gloves and single-use apparel, customers can divert these hard-to-recycle waste streams from the landfill in order to get one step closer to achieving their zero waste goals while reducing their waste disposal costs at the same time," said Adams, "In addition, we are helping to give our safety and industrial products a second life."

From the Lab to the Brewery

RightCycle has been demonstrated to work both in the research lab and in the private sector.

For example, across its campus in the course of a year, Purdue University uses approximately 360,000 disposable gloves. That’s a lot of trash – 3.5 tons to be exact, all of which would normally wind up in a landfill. The university, based in West Lafayette, Indiana, has won numerous awards for sustainability. Its efforts extend to many different areas – recycling, planning management, landscaping and green construction. With a diversion rate goal of 85 percent, the university is always seeking new and different ways to reduce its solid waste stream.

“It was brought to my attention that Kimberly-Clark Professional* had a glove recycling program,” said Suzy Gustafson, chemistry procurement manager. “So we tried it.”

Since November 2014, the chemistry department at Purdue University has diverted 2,266 pounds of lab gloves from landfills.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. was founded in 1980 in Chico, California, by Ken Grossman and his fellow home brewer Paul Camusi. What started as a small homebrew shop has grown into an industry leader – a company that pioneered the craft brewing industry and now operates two breweries, one in Chico and one in Mills River, North Carolina.

An avid environmentalist, Grossman is committed to sustainability in every facet of his company’s operations. Sierra Nevada has received local, state and national recognition for its environmental efforts. It was the first company to achieve platinum zero waste certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, with both breweries now platinum-certified.

Even with all of these accomplishments, Sierra Nevada is always looking for ways to become more sustainable. In 2016, it discovered RightCycle and in less than a year, the company diverted more than 4,000 pounds of nitrile gloves.





At Arbill, we applaud Kimberly-Clark’s efforts and are proud to continue to offer their products to our customers. In the months to come, we will continue to feature Kimberly-Clark products and practices that are promoting sustainability.

Arbill is a safety solutions company. We are all about protecting your workers in the workplace. Our mission is to keep workers safe and return them home safely at the end of the day. Visit arbill.com for more information about being safe and subscribe to Safer Every Day, the definitive digital magazine for workplace safety.

Have a safe day!


Topics: safety culture, safety gloves, Sustainability

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