Monica Torres is Baxter’s Corporate Manager, Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability, leading material efficiency projects for their manufacturing operations focusing on plastic scrap reduction. General responsibilities include providing environmental engineering expertise support to all Baxter operations globally. Monica also provides information and interprets performance data and analysis in support of the publication of Baxter’s Annual Corporate Responsibility Report.
Most Significant Accomplishment in Role
Plastic is a major product input and related scrap from manufacturing is the company’s largest waste stream, so reducing plastic waste and increasing recycling is essential. In 2011, Monica began working with manufacturing sites globally to identify opportunities to reduce scrap at the source of generation by using a systematic continuous improvement approach with specific focus on Lean and Six Sigma tools. Twenty sites currently are involved in the project. During 2015, Baxter reduced plastic scrap per unit of production by 9%, compared to 2011, at the 20 sites that represent about 75% of the company’s overall plastic volume.
In addition, Monica leads Baxter World Environment Week, Baxter’s signature initiative aimed at engaging and educating its employees on environmental sustainability. During 2015, 102 sites in 21 countries worldwide participated in the program by planning and hosting local cleanups, educational campaigns, tree-planting events and other biodiversity-focused activities.
Biggest Challenge Currently Facing
The biggest challenge we currently face is in standardizing processes across Baxter’s global manufacturing platform to reduce and manage plastic scrap most efficiently. This standardization can be applied in the design of products so as to minimize packaging material. Baxter has done a great job at reducing packaging material that goes to our customers but by standardizing some of those practices already implemented, we can reduce our footprint further still.
Views of the Future in Addressing Health Care Plastics
At Baxter, our customers are key stakeholders in our sustainability initiatives. Going into the future with our customer focus, we will continue to work on minimizing the waste that our customers must manage.
We are realizing more and more that the long-held belief that hospital waste is too difficult to recycle is not true. In fact, when hospitals sort the waste properly, much of the waste can indeed be recycled — and with effective recyclers/reclaimers and proper legislation, we can one day achieve best practices of a circular economy.
What I do for fun when not focusing on HPRC
I am a lover of nature so I enjoy the outdoors — particularly with my family, especially my 5-year-old daughter Francesca. We have planted our second garden this season and are looking forward to a bumper crop of produce!
Why I am a member of HPRC
Baxter has a long history in Sustainability. Baxter has long been a member of HPRC, and indeed was among the founding members. I believe it is our responsibility to engage with our customers and provide them with guidance and tools that will enable them to implement robust recycling programs. As a healthcare company with the mission to save and sustain lives, Baxter supports HPRC’s vision to safely and effectively recycle healthcare plastics as a valuable resource.