Waste is only waste if we define it that way. What if ‘waste’ didn’t exist? The way we live now, we produce almost more waste than products. Imagine turning our waste into something else!
As Kohler Stewards, believing in better, we are charged to write the next chapter. To wonder what’s next. And to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations.
We committed to NetZero by 2035 in terms of greenhouse emissions and solid waste going to landfills. To fulfil this promise of reducing and eliminating them, we constantly think of new ways to approach this challenge. As a large manufacturer, solid waste is a byproduct of factory processes and brings with it a mountain of worry.
Born out of our Kohler employee initiative Innovation for Good, the idea of looking at industrial waste in a new way and as raw material first emerged in October 2013. The team developed solutions to keep clean manufacturing waste out of landfills, make it valuable again and turn it into innovative products.
Since then, Theresa Millard, an artist and bio-mimicry expert, and her team have experimented and tested ways of transforming how people look at waste. Millard knows that with a craftsman’s eye and the understanding of composition and characteristics, waste can be re-purposed as raw material for new, precious products that bring joy and a good feeling to the customers.
As a result, the Kohler Waste Lab was created and its team is charged with finding environmentally sustainable solutions and contributing to the circular economy by imitating nature and recycling, reusing and re-purposing factory byproducts.
The Waste Lab – located in a glass production building in a disused lab facility – is an innovative, cross-discipline team of engineers, industrial designers, waste specialists and artists who create something new, valuable and worthwhile with potential landfill material and with equipment that is no longer in use in the production plants.
Some of the byproducts we currently create include foundry dust, spent sand, green cull from the pottery and enamel powder and already our Waste Lab teams have magically transformed this ‘waste’ into decorative kitchen and bathroom tiles for our US tile company Ann Sacks.
And this is just the beginning …
For more information, visit us at: wastelab.kohler.com