2012 Progress: In 2012, our operations implemented projects that reduced the amount of solid waste sent to landfill by 1,700 tons. Our 2020 goal is to reduce solid waste to landfills by 3,300 tons, and with this year’s progress we have achieved 51 percent of our total goal. We are on track to achieve our 2020 goal early. Normalized total solid waste (pounds/ton production) for 2012 was 24.4.
Our plants have reduced solid waste produced from their operations. Recent projects include:
- Attempting a zero waste to landfill challenge: Our Progressive Processing (Dubuque, IA) facility was challenged by company objectives to reach zero waste to landfill status. The Progressive Processing employees identified the 2011 landfill costs and saw an opportunity to reduce landfill tonnage, increase recycling revenue and encourage overall employee participation in the plant recycling program. Their goal was to reduce tonnage by 25 percent and increase recycling revenue by 15 percent. Normalized results were a 28 percent reduction in tonnage sent to the landfill and increased recycling revenue. They attribute the heightened employee engagement and employee education efforts to the success of this project.
- Reducing solid waste to landfill: The Beloit (WI) Plant contributed progress toward the Hormel Foods environmental sustainability goals by targeting a reduction of waste sent to the landfill by 10 percent and improving plant recycling. Through various communications initiatives, they achieved an 18 percent reduction in landfill tonnage in fiscal 2012 and a consistent recycling rate at 39 percent.
- Reducing our Styrofoam use: Through monitoring, we identified that the disposal of Styrofoam shipping containers and ice packs constituted approximately 20 percent of Research and Development’s waste. We determined that by sanitizing and reusing these containers and ice packs we could significantly reduce our environmental impact. By implementing a cooler/ice pack sanitization system, we were able to significantly reduce waste and increase cost savings on replacement items.
- Reducing solid waste: At our Rochelle Foods (IL) facility, employees combined a number of efforts to reduce waste including recycling and landspreading, which allowed for financial savings and the elimination of tote usage for transporting between plants. The implemented projects resulted in an 8 percent reduction in solid waste sent to landfill and improved beneficial use via land application by 29 percent.
- Diversion of solid waste to energy plant: In an effort to improve solid waste management practices, in 2011, the Farmer John (Vernon, CA) team started a project to divert landfill waste to a waste-to-energy facility that would power local residences and businesses. An audit was done to measure the heat content of the waste material, determining that it was a good source of fuel. It was then diverted to an incinerator-based energy plant for local use. The project had continued success in 2012, and as a result, the Farmer John facility recycled 97 percent of materials used, which amounts to nearly zero waste generated.