Zero Net Waste

February 2, 2023

By: Catherine Haub

One important factor to determine the sustainability of a product is the effects of product manufacturing on the planet, meaning what comes from the manufacturing process affects the product’s sustainability. With this in mind, it is key to find ways to lower the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. There are many different ways in which a company can do this, such as tracking their emissions or wastes from production. To promote the importance of limiting the byproducts going into the environment from production, Plastics Industry Association created its Zero Net Waste program to help companies practice more sustainably. Several companies have been able to achieve this, including our Plymouth facility located in Minnesota. But what does Zero Net Waste mean, and what do companies do to get the certification?

To achieve Zero Net Waste, no byproducts of the manufacturing process are sent to landfills, meaning all materials should be recycled or reused [1]. This requires companies to look at their manufacturing processes and determine where they can divert the byproducts from landfills by recycling or reusing them. This program helps plastic companies by giving them the resources to reduce their waste and practice more sustainably [2]. Plastics Industry Association helps its members by providing the tools needed to change manufacturing processes to be more sustainable with the goal of industry-wide waste reduction to achieve the goal of reducing or eliminating materials going to landfills [3]. While absolute zero net waste may not be achievable, the program can help companies reduce waste by 80-90% [3]. There are 3 different levels of certification through PLASTICS: company-wide, at a manufacturing site or facility, or just at the headquarters or a non-manufacturing site [3].

Along with environmental benefits, there are also economic benefits to this program. By implementing this program, companies have been able to cut down on landfill costs [2]. Companies can also use this certification for marketing to prove their sustainability efforts [3]. As more companies are looking into making their supply chain more sustainable, this certification could help producers live up to their customer’s expectations.

Many companies have been working towards achieving Zero Net Waste and framing their sustainability goals around achieving it. At Placon, we are working towards accomplishing Zero Net Waste at all of our facilities by 2025, and have already done so at our Plymouth, Minnesota facility. Sustainability is very important to us, and our goals of achieving this certification show our efforts to create environmentally friendly packaging!

[1] This Is Plastics: Zero Net Waste: How a Sustainability Dream Is Becoming Reality

[2] Making Zero Net Waste a Reality for the Plastics Industry | GreenBlue

[3] Zero Net Waste | Plastics Industry Association

For 55 years, Placon has been a leading designer and manufacturer of custom and stock plastic packaging for the food, medical, and retail markets. Placon has manufacturing operations in Madison, WI; Elkhart, IN; Plymouth, MN; and West Springfield, MA, and currently ranked in Plastics News 2020 Thermoformers Ranking Top 20. Placon delivers packaging breakthroughs that inspire better engagement between people and products with industry leading innovation and award-winning packaging designs. For more information, visit