To 3M, sustainability includes collaborating to find better solutions. As the world population grows, particularly in emerging economies, global challenges must be addressed together to ensure we can all live healthy, fulfilling lives. We recognize our customers face those same challenges and share our sustainability goals. For this reason, we are committed to partnering with customers to identify and collaborate on solutions to address their goals. While we are always increasing the number of products that address those needs, you can read about current Environmental Solutions here (PDF, 6.7MB).
Sustainability shouldn’t have an expiration date. Life cycle management is a formal part of our product introduction process worldwide. When we develop a new product, we ask important questions at the start: How can we reduce the product’s impact on the environment? How will we distribute it? And how will it ultimately be disposed of? We consider all the environmental, health, and safety implications of bringing that particular product into the world.
We adopted a new Life Cycle Management Policy in 2001 requiring all of our business units to conduct life cycle reviews for all new and existing products. With hundreds of new products introduced each year, we have a continuous flow of opportunities to improve the environmental, health, and safety effects of the things we make.
We’re thinking outside the box. Also the carton, wrapper, and bag. A key part of our life cycle management process is our ongoing effort to realize the environmental and cost benefits of reduced packaging. We’re reducing the environmental impact of our packaging through redesign, reuse, increased recyclability and use of recycled content, and increased use of cube utilization. The results are less energy use in processing packaging materials, reduced cost and emissions from transport, and less storage and disposal space requirements.
In the Health Care industry, 3M works with hospitals, dentists, orthodontists, pharmaceutical companies, and food manufacturers to develop economically viable solutions that preserve our natural resources and contribute to healthy communities. Waste, energy, and water reduction, as well as infection prevention and patient comfort, are all areas in which we focus in developing products that improve lives.
Our Post-it® Note Cabinet Pack helps reduce waste in the office and impact on the environment. The bulk cube dispenser, of 16 or 24 Post-it® Note Pads, provides convenient storage and eliminates the need for individual plastic wrapping. Plus, the pack sleeve is made from 100% recycled paper with restricted ink use.
We’ve significantly reduced the packaging of our 3M Scotch-Brite™ Tub and Tile Scrubber. The package redesign includes the removal of corrugate dividers and a diminished overall size to fit into half the transport and display space.
For those who thought high-school geometry would never serve them in real life, consider the power of the cube. In warehousing and logistics, “cube utilization” is an approach to using the space within a storage area, trailer, or container most efficiently. Cube utilization is generally calculated as a percentage of total space or total “usable space.” We’re using cube utilization to reduce the storage and transportation space required by our products.
At 3M, we evaluate many facets of the materials we use, allowing us to continuously improve the environmental, health, and safety implications of what we make.