WN Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
is Canada’s leading manufacturer and distributor of vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products. Based in British Columbia, Canada, WN Pharmaceuticals develops, manufactures, and distributes its products to enhance the well-being of customers across Canada and around the world.
Many of the products WN Pharmaceuticals manufactures are enclosed in softgel capsules. The softgel manufacturing process generates leftover waste in a form resembling netting.
Much like pharmaceutical drugs, natural health products may harm the eco-system if improperly disposed of in the landfill. WN Pharmaceuticals operates in accordance with Canada’s Environmental Management Act, and keeps natural health product manufacturing waste out of Metro Vancouver’s general waste disposal facilities. Historically, this was accomplished by sending the manufacturing waste to a facility that would incinerate the material without any energy recovery.
Going Climate Smart
In the early part of 2015, WN Pharmaceuticals began measuring its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with Climate Smart. After evaluating the impacts of its facilities, WN Pharmaceuticals identified a list of actions that could be taken to help achieve its sustainability objectives.
The company ranked the list of actions by potential impact, and developed an emissions reduction strategy that included short, medium, and long-term goals.
Even prior to beginning the Climate Smart program, WN Pharmaceuticals was exploring ways to reduce its environmental footprint and reduce expenses.
- Over the past decade, WN Pharmaceuticals has been reselling portions of the clear netting for use in non-food applications (e.g., the adhesive manufacturing industries). During the 2016 fiscal year, WN Pharmaceuticals diverted approximately 150 tons of waste from landfill, and generated $50,000 of revenue from this waste channel.
- In 2016, WN Pharmaceuticals switched waste contractors to one able to divert 95% of the manufacturing waste by grinding the material and turning it into soil and animal feed. While the outcome of this switch is yet to be fully accounted for, WN Pharmaceuticals projects a reduction of 165 tons of GHG, and 30% cost savings.
- In 2014, soft plastic balers were installed at three locations to handle the large volumes of cellophane wrapping the company was receiving. Although the wrapping was being recycled prior to the balers, this incurred a significant annual expense. The balers turned this into revenue, as waste recyclers were now willing to pay for the bales of plastic in a format they could use. The 2016 fiscal year saw the baling of approximately 79 metric tons (158,000 lbs) of soft plastic, which generated revenue in excess of $15,000 and avoided approximately $65,000 in recycling fees, adding $80,000 to the bottom line.
And many times, simple changes can also have big impacts.
- WN Pharmaceuticals reduced the emissions generated by office paper use by approximately 40% by switching from copier paper comprised of 30% recycled content to agri-based Wheat SheetTM and Sugar SheetTM products (producing GHG emissions similar to paper with 100% recycled content). These paper products are derived from non-edible portions of the plant, and thus do not impact the natural food chain. Contrary to expectations, the switch saved WN Pharmaceuticals 25% in paper costs without compromising print quality.