Just more than half — 139 million tons — of the waste generated in the U.S. went to landfills in 2017, and it’s estimated that by 2021, the U.S. will have only 15 years left before reaching capacity at domestic landfills. With these environmental challenges in mind, Perdue Farms announced this week that its Lewiston, N.C., operation is now GreenCircle Zero Waste to Landfill certified, which means 100% of the waste materials leaving the facility are diverted from landfill via GreenCircle’s acceptable means of diversion such as reuse, recycling or incineration for energy, also known as waste to energy.
Perdue Farms has established aggressive, five-year environmental sustainability goals, including diverting 90% of solid waste generated and not sent to landfills by 2022.
“The certification is important because it aligns with our vision to be the most trusted name in food and agriculture products and our goal to be good environmental stewards. It also continues our decades-long track record of environmental stewardship and responsible management of our resources,” Perdue vice president of sustainability Steve Levitsky said. “Our waste diversion goal is ambitious, and we chose GreenCircle because they have the most rigorous certification available on the market. As a company, Perdue is focused on continuous improvement, and Lewiston is just the beginning. We are planning to have five additional facilities go through the audit and certification process by the end of 2022.”
GreenCircle Zero Waste Diversion certification is designed to help companies demonstrate their commitment to minimizing waste and develop programs to responsibly manage all waste created in their facilities with a goal of diverting 100% of waste from landfill.
To receive certification, the Lewiston facility went through a rigorous audit and assessment process, including an audit of all waste streams, inspection of all waste receptacles and assessment of all third-party waste management companies to confirm management methods and diversion rates. Additionally, GreenCircle provided recommendations for improvement based on its findings.
“We commend Perdue’s commitment to transparency and continuous improvement,” GreenCircle certification officer Tad Radzinski said. “The goal of our Zero Waste to Landfill certification is to help companies understand where they are with waste minimization and zero waste programs. That information enables them to minimize waste and manage materials to reduce their environmental impact.”
Every aspect of the operations’ waste was assessed, including the personal protective equipment worn by associates, the process used to minimize contamination of the cardboard recycling stream and the reuse of oil on site, just to name a few examples.