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Zero-Waste Phenomenon Grows, as Kraft Hits Milestone

Kraft has 36 facilities in 13 countries that send zero waste to landfills, the company has announced, the latest in a string of “zero waste” announcements from multinational companies.

The food company said it now has 12 zero-waste facilities in North America and 24 in Europe. Kraft also said that it reduced its manufacturing waste, measured per ton of production, by 50 percent from 2005 to 2011. It has a target of cutting manufacturing plants’ waste output by 15 percent by 2015, from a 2010 baseline.

One Kraft plant in San Leandro and two in Fresno, California diverted more than 100 tons of food waste – such as corn skins – for use as animal feed, helping to cut waste to landfill about 26 percent since 2009. The Philadelphia cream cheese plant in Beaver Dam, Wisc. partnered with the city in 2010 and 2011 to build an anaerobic digester that turns whey waste into biogas.

And the Kraft coffee plant in St. Petersburg, Russia cut its waste to landfill by 90 percent, partly through turning 15,000 tons of spent coffee grounds into fertilizer for area farms.

Kraft estimates that solid waste generated from manufacturing accounts for more than 99 percent of its total waste, and that it currently recycles or reuses 90 percent of manufacturing waste.

In 2007, the company launched a program with packaging and recycling company Sonoco, using its Sonoco Sustainability Solutions (S3) consulting service.  Through S3, Sonoco is helping a number of customers cut landfill waste. For example, Unilever’s Tipton Tea plant in Suffolk, Va., became a zero landfill facility in 2009 after working with Sonoco to identify recycling alternatives for develop a more comprehensive recycling program.

Sonoco announced a goal of moving five of its own U.S. manufacturing plants to virtually landfill-free status by the end of 2011, and making 10 percent of its manufacturing operations landfill-free by 2015.

As USA Today notes, corporate America is increasingly adopting zero waste to landfill strategies, with more and more making such announcements each month.

Subaru was an early adopter. Last April, the U.S. army said that eight installations will reach for zero landfill status by 2020. And this week, Ford announced that plants in Cologne, Genk in Belgium and Saarlouis in Germany are already waste-to-landfill free

A sampling of companies setting or achieving zero waste targets – just within the past year:

DuPont: The chemical sciences firm last month achieved zero waste to landfill status in its Building Innovations arm, driving waste output down by 81 million pounds over three years.

General Motors: GM last month said its number of landfill-free facilities rose from 0 in 2000 and 1 in 2005 to 76 in 2010, and in that year its facilities recycled 92 percent of the waste they generated. In November GM announced its Fort Wayne Assembly Plant had become its first U.S. factory to reach zero waste-to-landfill status.

Honda: Last July, the car company said it achieved zero waste to landfill status at ten of its 14 plants in North America, with the remaining plants achieving a “virtually zero” level.

Hasbro: Last year the toy company recycled 82 percent of its non-hazardous waste at its owned and operated facilities, and it says it sends zero waste to landfill from its U.S. manufacturing processes.

Supervalu: The company says two of its Albertsons outlets were the first stores in the U.S. to achieve zero-waste status, and says 40 locations will be zero waste by the end of this month.

Boeing: The aircraft maker said four of its facilities will send zero non-hazardous solid waste to landfills.

Frito-Lay: The snack food giant opened a “near net zero” plant in Arizona.

Heinz: The food company said its facility in Dundalk, Ireland is on “well on its way” to becoming zero waste-to-landfill.

Anvil Knitwear: The apparel company set a new goal of a zero waste to landfill stream by fiscal year 2020.

Avon: The cosmetics company has a target to reach zero waste to landfills by 2020. It is also aiming to reduce waste intensity by ten percent by 2012 from a 2008 baseline, and by 40 percent by 2020 from a 2005 baseline.

Wal-Mart: The retailer has said its eventual goal is to create zero waste.

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2 thoughts on “Zero-Waste Phenomenon Grows, as Kraft Hits Milestone

  1. • Why do companies claim zero waste when they continue to send their hazardous waste to a landfill causing incalculable future liabilities to their companies and their stakeholders?

  2. You cannot claim Zero Waste if you make use of Energy-to-waste, incineration, thermal processing, or any other burn/destroy method.
    Lear more about Zero Waste @ ggrn.org

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