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Frito-Lay Opens ‘Near Net Zero’ Facility

Snack food giant Frito-Lay has opened what the company calls a “near net zero” plant in Arizona.

The “near net zero” vision was to transform an existing facility so that it would be as far “off the grid” as possible and run primarily on renewable energy sources and recycled water, while producing nearly zero landfill waste.

The Casa Grande, Ariz., facility will feature a recovery system that the company hopes will recycle 75 percent of the plant’s water, numerous solar photovoltaic systems spread across its grounds and a biomass boiler.

Other green innovations on site include high-efficiency tractors and a solar shade parking structure. The plant draws two-thirds of its energy from renewable sources. It is targeting a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80 percent cut in natural gas usage.

As a company that relies on natural resources such as water and fuel, Frito-Lay plans to use the plant as something of a green energy test lab to improve efficiencies at other facilities and reduce the reliance on such natural resources in case they become scarce in the future.

The company announced plans for a net zero plant in Casa Grande in 2007. It was originally scheduled to open in 2010.

In other food and drink industry news, Anheuser-Busch is to invest more than $1 billion in its breweries and other facilities. A portion of the investment is to be spent on green measures.

Expenditures of environmental note include a $60 million investment in the company’s St. Louis brewery for various improvements, including a utilities overhaul to conserve fuel, electricity and water.

Anheuser-Busch is also spending $30 million at its Los Angeles brewery for projects including environmental modifications to reduce the amount of fiberboard required for packaging and an update to the brewery’s energy efficient lighting.

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