Solid Waste Minimization
Recycling is a critical part of a sustainability program. Recycling involves disposing materials in a way that results in either electricity of other energy or reusing the material in a similar way.
Corrugated and Paper: Understanding and mapping the corrugate waste stream is critical to determining the best method for recycling. In many cases corrugate is collected, compacted, bailed and sold as a commodity based on market value.
Plastic: Plastic is generally broken into several categories: Plastic bottles -- Collected and sent to a recycler. Plastic Drums -- Triple rinsed, label removed and returned to the manufacture of the contents for reuse or to a recycler for shredding and other uses. Plastic Pallets -- Should be cleaned and reused. Plastic film should be collected and contacted.
Glass: Glass can be collected and separated from plastic and sent to a recycler.
Lamps: Fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury. Some companies specialize in collecting these lamps and recycling them after the mercury is collected. There is facility based equipment that crushes and contains the mercury that may be used in the process of recycling.
Metals: Scrap metal can be collected, sold for scrap and returned to the steel mill for reuse.
Sustainability in Action!
Pollution Prevention/2009 AMI Environmental Achievement First Place Award Winner. Sara Lee in New London, Wisconsin sought to reduce chloride use at the plant by curbing use at the source. The plant used Six Sigma methods to map a strategy and in the first year reduced chloride use by 25 percent.
Advancement in Technology /2009 AMI Environmental Achievement First Place Award Winner.
John Morrell & Co. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota installed and underground sludge pumping system to remove accumulated lagoon sludge – work that had previously been done by an outside contractor that ran a vacuum truck non-stop for nearly 1,300 hours at a cost of $127,000 per year. They also burned five gallons of diesel fuel an hour. The capital investment was recouped in 6.5 months and sludge is now removed in a more effective and environmentally friendly way.
Farmland Foods’ Crete, Nebraska facility began composting remaining truck bedding mixture of wood chips and manure into a rich and nearly odor free fertilizer for use in the community. The cost savings in landfill disposal is estimated at $15,000 annually.
Cardboard Recycling – Farmland Foods’ Milan Missouri Plant launched a program to recycle cardboard and use the proceeds to fund scholarships for local students. The idea was “recycled from another Farmland Plant in Crete, Nebraska where scrap metal is recycled and used to fund a similar scholarship program.
Reusing Oil – In an effort to reduce water use, an Armour-Eckrich Meat Plant in Omaha began filtering and reusing oil from their refrigeration system using an oil filtration system purchased for $3500. After deducing the purchase price of the filtration system the company saved $5,000 in the first year while using less oil and reducing the risks associated with storing oil.
Reusable Transport Containers – Sara Lee’s Orion Cappuccino shipping cases, made of corrugated board, have been replaced by reusable containers for transport. They expect to save more than 77,000 pounds of corrugated board through this effort per year.
Animal Waste Management – Seaboard Foods converts some of its animal waste into nearly 700 tons of compost annually.
Packaging redesign – Smithfield Beef Group redesigned boxes, reducing cardboard purchases by 15 percent group wide. Meanwhile, Sara Lee created packages that have reusable elements. For example, Hillshire Farm Deli Meats are sold in a reusable tub that is microwaveable, freezer and dishwasher safe and can be used up to 100 times.