From the 3Rs to the 5Rs Similar but better using creative power to drive GC's sustainability

There is widespread concern around the world about the environment, climate change and the increasing use of the world's natural resources, which governments and the private sector are working to address. GC, a leading chemical company focused on better living, is using improved knowledge and the necessary tools to drive sustainability in its business resulting in the improved use of natural resources to reduce the negative impacts on society and the environment. GC has taken the existing 3Rs and expanded them - to the 5Rs.

Most people are already familiar with the 3Rs, but what is interesting is how GC has taken the 3Rs and gone further, by applying the 5Rs into their activities.

The 3Rs consist of Reduce - using less, or decreasing the level of waste created; Reuse - reuse as many times as possible to increase the life of a product and maximize its benefit; and Recycle - supporting the recycling and upcycling process of waste such as glass, paper, metal and plastic into new products. GC's 5Rs take the 3Rs and add two more: Refuse - banning and restricting the use of chemicals that are not environmentally friendly; and Renewable - using renewable resources.

While the 3Rs reduce the problem of how we use natural resources, GC wanted to do more, and improve the efficiency of its internal management by using the 5Rs throughout its organization:

  • Reduce: GC developed low-density polyethylene (LDPE), a thin film that offers uncompromising quality and leads to a 66% decrease in antioxidants used during the manufacturing process but retains the quality of the product.
  • Reuse: GC encourages everyone to use reusable and washable food and beverage containers.
  • Recycle: GC initiated the Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand (UTO) project which promotes environmental awareness by collecting plastic bottles found in Thai seas and produces an array of fashionable products, i.e. t-shirts, bags, etc. through the upcycling process.
  • Refuse: GC intends to ban and restrict the use of chemicals that are not environmentally friendly, for instance, the company will use refrigerants which do not negatively affect the ozone layer in the atmosphere and will also not use persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
  • Renewable: GC will increase its use of natural raw materials to produce products such as palm and corn. In addition, GC will ramp up its use of renewable energy by installing solar panels on the roofs of its buildings.

GC has been successful in applying the 5Rs in its management of raw materials and production process. But an equally important benefit is how attitudes have changed in terms of awareness with a stronger environmental focus among executives, staff and stakeholders, who are all motivated to protect our natural resources and take action for future generations, all in accordance with GC's mission to create chemistry for better living.