Food And Drink at 3M: More Sustainable Than Ever
Apr 22, 2019
Much of the global conversation about Earth Day (April 22) focuses on climate change and its impact to our planet. One of the larger trends to recently emerge from discussions around climate change relates to food and food-related sustainability. 

At 3M, we are making changes at locations around the world to help create a more sustainable planet in relation to food and food services. Here's a look at some of the food-related efforts at different 3M locations.

Global headquarters (3M Center, Maplewood, Minn.)

In the past year, 3M Center made quite a few changes in the cafeterias. Here are some highlights:

  • Began using an innovative cooking oil filtration system that extends the life of cooking oil and recycles waste oil into biodiesel. Because of this new system, 3M saves roughly 10,440 pounds of oil per year, which is the equivalent of planting nearly 1,400 trees, based on the carbon offset.  

  • Began using eco-friendly food containers that can either be recycled or tossed in the compost bin. For example, the to-go containers in the Bldg. 222 café are made from sugar cane and are 100% compostable.

  • Plans to eliminate all plastic water bottles from our catering services beginning in late April 2019. We expect an annual savings of 129,512 water bottles. 

  • Offers cage-free eggs in the cafes.

  • Initiated Mindful Mondays, a program that promotes awareness about the positive nutritious options available at 3M such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.


Prior to 2018, the sinks used for washing dishes in the pantry and kitchen at 3M's Singapore location used normal water taps. After changing to water-saving efficient taps, the estimated water savings was 683.5 cubic meters with a cost savings of $1,425 USD.


The Neuss location introduced a reusable cup system for the coffee machines. The new cups can be used at least 500 times and are completely recyclable. This action has saved 313,000 non-recyclable paper cups from ending up in landfills per year. 


3M Italy activated an effort to reduce the use of plastic water bottles and CO2 emissions by installing water stations on each floor. Italy also has plans to completely stop selling plastic water bottles at its headquarters later this year.


Each employee at the Bracknell location was given a reusable thermos in an effort to significantly reduce its use of plastic water bottles and single-use cups.


3M Canada replaced plastic straws with paper straws and plastic cups with paper cups.


  • Reduced consumption of paper cups in the office in Malaysia by 80% in 2019 vs. 2018.
  • Reduced consumption of plastic water bottles by 80%in 2019 vs 2018.

East Europe Region 

Examples of Green office initiative activities:

  • Converted from all plastic cups and spoons to reusables.

  • Stopped purchasing plastic bottles; now use glass carafes.  

  • Introduced selective waste collection and put reduced bins only in kitchenette areas.


3M Mexico went through 20,000 cups of cardboard for coffee, 1,000 bags of plastic in the 3M store and 3,400 plastic bottles of water per month. They switched to the use of ceramic cups for coffee, water filters on all 3M floors and recycled paper bags in the 3M store for a reduction of 182KG of monthly trash.


Agreements with associations of recyclers take advantage of cardboard, paper, wood and plastic, generating less of an ecological footprint.


In 3M's plant in Argentina, the cooking oils used in the dining room are properly separated and given to an institution that deals with its subsequent recovery and reuse.


The 3M offices in Chile segregate and recycle waste: cans, paper and cardboard, glass bottles and PET plastics.  These wastes are delivered to institutions that recover these materials and recycle them for use as raw material in other processes.​

Sustainability is at the heart of 3M. It drives our purpose-driven innovation in manufacturing, products and new technologies, and we're always trying to do more. We collaborate with our customers, governments and communities — with the ambition to improve every life.

To learn more about Sustainability at 3M, visit our Sustainability page. ​

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