Whirlpool Labels Packaging So Customers Know How To Recycle It

There is a need for labels that tell consumers packaging can be recycled. Twenty-eight percent of Americans say they will only recycle items that they know are recyclable. Only one in five will do extra research to determine if an item can be recycled if it is not clearly labeled. One company is leading the way when it comes to communicating to consumers about packaging. That company is Whirlpool and it has a new partnership with recycling labeling system How2Recycle. 

The label, printed clearly on packaging, explains about the material the packaging is made out of and gives detailed recycling instructions such as “remove label before recycling,” or “recycle if clean and dry.” The label also specifies if only a part of the packaging is recyclable. Major brands like REI and McDonald’s have partnered with How2Recycle. Over 50 companies have adopted the labeling system. Whirlpool is the first appliance company to use the label. The information is making a difference already. Fifty percent of the respondents to a recent survey reported changing their based on what they learned from the packaging labeling system. 

Whirlpool’s latest initiative to use packaging labeling is one of a long line of sustainable initiatives. The company partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Program and Better Plants Challenge to start a program that provides a global dashboard feed from each of its plants and facilities to promote energy and water efficiency and waste minimization. The program is ongoing in its North American facilities, and will help the company meet its global goal of decreasing its energy intensity by 15 percent by 2020. It will also help Whirlpool meet its goal of zero landfill waste from manufacturing by 2022. Four of its manufacturing facilities in Latin America have achieved zero waste to landfill.

Whirlpool is investing in renewable energy. The company will use wind turbines to power its manufacturing facility in Findlay, Ohio. The $18 million project will have five wind turbines and Whirlpool will use two of them. The wind turbines will offset an estimated 13 percent of the plant’s electricity use. In its Wroclaw, Poland plant Whirlpool has two heat recovery systems that reuse thermal energy generated during the manufacturing processes which produce hot water used for process and for heating. 

Manufacturing is a water intensive process. Whirlpool aims to reduce its water use. In its Latin America plants, it is treating and purifying water through its waste water treatment stations to use for processes consumption. It also captures rain water. In one of its largest manufacturing sites, the Joinville appliances plant in Brazil, the water intensity has decreased by more than 70 percent over the last 10 years. The water treatment and reuse over the last five years at the Joinville plant is equivalent to the annual water consumption of about 1,600 households. Whirlpool has reduced water use in its India manufacturing plants by 35 percent since 2011. In just 2015, it reduced water use by six percent in its India plants. 

Photo: How2Recycle