Food Processors Make Progress on Sustainability Goals in 2011

General Mills, Kellogg Co., Kraft and Purdue Farms talk about what they are doing to meet their sustainability goals.

By Food Processing staff

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In 2010, the company purchased nearly 50,000 metric tons of Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee, more than half of which went to the EU coffee business; approximately 11,000 metric tons of Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa; roughly 19,000 metric tons of Fairtrade cocoa; and about 24,000 metric tons of Fairtrade sugar.

Perdue Farms Sustainability Mentality: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

“Back when my grandfather, Arthur Perdue, was saving the leather from his old boots to make hinges for his chicken house doors, he wasn’t thinking “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Yet, his frugality included a belief that you were responsible for the resources entrusted to you. That sense of stewardship has guided our company’s growth across three generations and more than eight decades,” said Chairman Jim Perdue, Perdue Farms, Horsham, Pa.

Perdue’s AgriRecycle litter recycling plant, the industry’s first large-scale alternative to land application of poultry litter, has handled more than 650,000 tons of litter in its first eight and a half years of operation, the equivalent of 52 million lbs of nitrogen, 26 million lbs of phosphorus and 30 million lbs of potassium with more than half of the finished product relocated to nutrient-deficient areas. It represents an initial $13 million capital investment in protecting the environment, processes surplus poultry litter from Delmarva farms into pasteurized, organic fertilizer products, provides free poultry house clean-outs to farm partners who have surplus litter, and is open to poultry farmers regardless of their company affiliation. The finished product is an Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) certified organic fertilizer and meets the requirements of the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). It is used in horticulture, landscaping, organic crop production and as a key ingredient in popular organic lawn-and-garden products.

Another initiative, Shore Water Conservation resulted in an average reduction in water use of 2.3 million gallons of water per week for each of four Delmarva processing plants, and a similar program in the Cromwell, Ky., plant saves 2.4 million gallons of water per week.

Cold cathode lighting in the farm partners’ chicken houses reduces energy use by 80 percent. Lighting projects are reducing electricity use across the company, including annual savings of 1.2 million kWh at the Milford, Del., processing plant; 346,000 kWh at its Eagle Springs, N.C., hatchery and 780,000 kWh at the wastewater treatment plant in the Cromwell, Ky. processing plant.

Recycling efforts at the Lewiston, N.C., processing plant reduced solid waste by 2,170 tons, and the Dillon, S.C.; facility recycles more than 55 percent of its solid waste.

The Environmental Management System (EMS), piloted at the Salisbury, Md., processing plant and modeled after internationally recognized ISO 14001 standards, integrates environmental sustainability goals and measures into every aspect of plant operations, an initiative being rolled out in all company facilities.

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