Avon Products Inc.
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Material Use, Waste Reduction & Recycling Practices

With more than 50 manufacturing and distribution centers worldwide, minimizing material use and recycling continue to be a strong focus for Avon as it strives to reduce waste along the production cycle. This reduction has a meaningful cost savings as well as reduced environmental impact.

Avon’s 2012 target was to increase its recycling rate by 5 percent against 2008 levels. The company exceeded its goal, increasing its recycling rate by 25 percent.

In 2012 Avon’s overall combined recycling rate for manufacturing and distribution centers was 83 percent. Avon has tracked its recycling rates in manufacturing since 2005 and since 2008 for distribution centers.

Recycling increased 14 percent in global manufacturing locations in 2012, resulting in an overall recycling rate of 80.4 percent. This is an all time high for Avon manufacturing operations. The achievement is due to innovative ideas such as finding reuse options for sludge generated by wastewater treatment. Several facilities have recycling rates near 95 percent, and all sites are focused on achieving zero waste to landfill.

Recycling at our global distribution centers was also at an all time high in 2012, reaching 87 percent through a 4.8 percent increase from 2010.

Avon’s 2012 target was to decrease its waste per unit by 10 percent against 2008 levels. The company did not reach its goal, achieving a 3 percent reduction in waste per unit in 2012.

Total waste generated is on a downward trend after a spike in 2007, and there will be continued focused attention to drive further reductions and achieve targets. The 2012 total waste dropped .6 percent from 2011 and is slightly above the 2005 baseline (+3%). Waste per unit increased 14% year over year and is 7 percent above the baseline level due to lower units produced.

Recycling Efficiency (% materials recycled)
Global Manufacturing Locations

Recycling Efficiency

Avon's overall recycling rate for 2012 increased by 1 percent to nearly 80.4 percent at the company’s global manufacturing sites, a historic high for the company.

Total Absolute Waste (in thousands of pounds)
Global Manufacturing Locations

Total Absolute Waste

Total waste generation (absolute) in Avon's manufacturing facilities in 2012 dropped 0.6 percent from 2011.

Waste Index (Pounds/000 Units)
Global Manufacturing Locations

Waste Index

Waste generated in 2012 on a pounds-per-unit basis in Avon's manufacturing facilities increased 14 percent from 2011 due to lower units.

Challenges and Opportunities

Even though Avon's 83 percent recycling rate is its highest ever, continued focus will help drive towards the goal of zero waste to landfill. Avon will also continue to work towards a target of 30 percent reduction in waste per unit against the 2005 level, which is one KPI that continues to fall short. While in 2012 Avon exceeded 2005 baseline levels by 7%, the company expects to reverse this increase as unit production increases.

Moving Forward

Avon will continue to explore new ways to increase recycling at its facilities and reduce the amount of waste generated. Initiatives the company is currently working on include:

  • Exploring options for reusing corrugated cardboard
  • Offering customer discounts on excess products
  • Donating product surplus to nonprofit organizations and charities
  • Moving excess saleable products to countries with an approved waste disposal solution

Brazil Solid Waste Law

In January 2011, Brazil passed a solid waste law modeled after packaging waste legislation implemented in the European Union more than 10 years ago. The law requires producers to provide mechanisms for recovering product packaging from consumers after use. The intent is to capture more recyclable waste and prevent this waste from going to landfills. As such, companies pay an annual fee for a third-party vendor to collect and recycle packaging waste.

Avon Brazil is collaborating with other cosmetic companies and local trade organizations to explore and develop operational solutions to achieve compliance with this new legislation. The company is also gleaning best practices from Avon facilities in other regions where this legislation is already in place.

80 percent
recycling efficiency in manufacturing sites
and 83 percent
in distribution centers