Smithfield Foods Inc. announced a new commitment to reduce overall solid waste sent to landfills 75% by 2025. This includes certifying at least 35 of its facilities in the U.S., or three-quarters of its domestic facilities, as zero-waste-to-landfill by 2025. Through the initiative, the company will minimize waste and recycle or reuse materials that were once considered garbage, ultimately reducing waste sent to landfills in numerous communities throughout the country.
The initiative is another step toward progress in Smithfield's sustainability program, which also includes a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025 — the first commitment of its kind from a protein company.
“At Smithfield, we continue to make impressive strides toward reducing our environmental impact by regularly evaluating and implementing new sustainability goals and targets,” said Kenneth Sullivan, Smithfield president and chief executive officer. “Expanding our zero-waste-to-landfill efforts is yet another example of how we think holistically across our business and our supply chain in ways that are responsible and sustainable.”
Currently, nearly a quarter of Smithfield's U.S. facilities are certified as zero waste to landfill, and it plans to certify many more facilities within the next few years. For more than five years, the company has worked to meet a rigorous set of criteria for its domestic facilities to be classified as zero- waste to landfill, including:
- Not sending any waste to landfill for 12 months;
- Cutting normalized waste by at least 10% from the facility baseline;
- Reusing or recycling at least 50% of waste generated;
- Limiting incineration without energy recovery to hazardous and medical wastes;
- Reducing stabilized and landfilled hazardous waste to 0.1% of waste generated;
- Ensuring that waste management costs do not exceed 105% of baseline costs, and
- Maintaining records to be reviewed by staff and/or a third-party auditor.
“As we look to the future and meeting the challenge of feeding 10 billion people, Smithfield is doing its part by searching for innovative ways to use our planet’s resources more wisely,” said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield. “This bold new target is a meaningful addition to our comprehensive approach to sustainability across all our operations and helps our communities move closer toward a zero-waste future.”