Tom’s of Maine is working to make its products more sustainable. There are several examples among the company’s many products, but two of them stand out. The company is switching to a 100 percent petroleum-free version of propylene glycol for its natural deodorants. Switching to a petroleum-free version will reduce its environmental impact since petroleum is a fossil fuel and fossil fuels cause greenhouse gas emissions. Packaging serves as another example. Tom’s of Maine is exploring the use of potato-based biopackaging for mouthwash bottles and deodorant canisters. It is also decreasing the percentage of virgin materials used in its packaging. The goal is for 50 percent of its packaging to come from virgin content and 40 percent by 2020.
The second edition of Tom’s of Maine’s “Goodness Report” details other sustainability achievements, including reducing energy use and waste. There are a variety of ways that the company reduces waste. One way is by working with its suppliers who grind and reuse scraps left over after a canister is cut from a mold to form the plastic elevators that push up deodorant sticks. After a box is emptied from its toothpaste box supplier, it sends it back to be reused. The box is reused about eight to ten times. If a vendor won’t take the boxes back and reuse them, then the company partners with Rebox which buys the boxes and resells them to companies. Another way that it reduces waste is through employee efforts. The recyclable waste on the manufacturing facility floor is gathered by employees who put it in bins marked for recyclable materials.
Tom’s of Maine designs its products and packaging to be recycled. Every deodorant canister is recyclable, including the cap. Its new Naturally Clean toothbrush can be recycled through TerraCycle, which also accepts any Tom’s of Maine packaging, turning it into new products. The cartons used for its toothpaste are made from 100 percent recycled paperboard. In 2012, it introduced a travel toothpaste in 2012 without a carton and in a self-merchandiser tray made from 100 percent recycled fibers that resulted in 30 percent less packaging by weight. The tray is recyclable after use.
To reduce energy use, Tom’s of Maine established a West Coast distribution center and used more trains and less trucks to move products across the country. It also bought a new air compressor for its manufacturing facility which will use 25 percent less energy. It offsets electricity used in its manufacturing facility by purchasing Green-e Certified renewable energy credits from wind power, and partially powers its headquarters with hydroelectricity. In 2013, the company started to run its equipment more efficiently, and managed to make 44 percent more toothpaste and deodorant in the same amount of time compared to a few years ago. Tom’s of Maine also switched to LED lights to reduce its energy use. It replaced every light bulb at its manufacturing facility in Sanford, Maine with LEDs which will light over 110,000 square feet with less energy.
Tom’s of Maine believes in giving back to the community, as its report reveals. Every year it gives employees five percent of work time off, 12 days for full-time employees, to volunteer. In 2013, employee’s engaged in a variety of volunteer activities including helping at a local school and working to preserve the Maine landscape. A total of 85 percent of employees volunteered in communities in 2013. Tom’s of Maine also gave 10 percent of its profits in 2013 to charitable organizations, including Sanford Dental Clinic, Preble Street Shelter, West Texas disaster relief efforts (fertilizer fire victims), One Fund (Boston Marathon victims), and Heart of Illinois United Way (tornado recovery).
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