Tom's of Maine Works to Make More Sustainable Products and Packaging

Tom's of Maine Works to Make More Sustainable Products and Packaging

by Gina-Marie Cheeseman
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Goodness Report from @TomsofMaine celebrates #sustainability achievements- via @Justmeans

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 8:00am



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. 

Gina-Marie Cheeseman is a central California-based journalist who writes about sustainability, environmental issues, and healthy living. With a degree in journalism and a passion for social responsibility, she writes for a number of online publications. She believes that collaboration between the public and private sectors can help solve many problems facing the planet and its people. named Cheeseman as one of the “75 Environmentalists to Follow on Twitter.”