People in a park picking up trash and waste in the environment for disposal.


Our approach

  • Our goal is to reduce manufacturing waste and achieve zero landfill status at 30% of our sites by 2025.

    While reducing waste is the first choice, other possibilities, such as reusing, recycling, and composting, can also fuel the circular economy by getting more out of our materials and allowing them to continue into their next life. That means increasing product and process optimization, on-site and offsite recycling, and composting — with a focus on recovery, reuse, and recycling.

    We drive “zero waste” thinking with our product designs, process technologies, and material reduction work within our manufacturing operations.

    To support our circularity efforts, we also continue to work internally and with our suppliers on their packaging of raw materials. Even one change in a material we use can have profound impacts over time if it enables continued reuse.

    Within our operations and each geographic area, results are reviewed regularly against goals and metrics. Specialized teams work on a variety of projects and programs, ranging from basic office recycling to more complex projects, such as developing, capturing, and recycling or reusing by-products generated by a manufacturing line.

Progress toward goals

  • Icon of a public trash receptacle.
    8.83% towards our goal to:

    Reduce manufacturing waste by an additional 10%, indexed to sales, by 2025

  • Icon of a hand dropping trash into a trashcan striked out.
    45.2% towards our goal to:

    Achieve zero landfill status at more than 30% of manufacturing sites by 2025

Key actions in 2021

Since 2005, 3M has achieved a 30.6% reduction in waste, indexed to net sales.

  • 3M Pollution Prevention Pays (3P) Program

    An industry first, 3M’s 3P program, developed in 1975, is based on the belief that a prevention approach to pollution is more environmentally effective, more socially acceptable, and more economical than treatment. The program has prevented 2.85 million short tons of pollutants and saved over $2.34 billion.

  • Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    We renewed our membership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to accelerate the movement toward using recycled and renewable raw materials in our product and package designs.

  • Recycling Partnership

    In the U.S., 3M continued to engage with The Recycling Partnership through financial support and representation as a corporate partner. 3M helped support numerous projects across the country, as well as the organization’s newest report — Paying It Forward — which outlines what it will take to create a healthy U.S. recycling system and the dividends that investment will deliver.

    3M’s continued support of The Recycling Partnership’s mission and work to transform the U.S. recycling system has contributed to a cumulative impact of 2,420 communities being supported with tools and resources to help drive local change; 105 million households reached; 1 million recycling carts put into service to improve access for families; and 494 million pounds of recyclables diverted, thereby avoiding 544,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions, cumulatively.