Kraft Achieves Zero Waste at 36 Food Plants Around the World

Kraft Achieves Zero Waste at 36 Food Plants Around the World

Kraft, the maker of food products ranging from Dentyne to mac-and-cheese mix, sends no waste to landfill at 36 manufacturing plants in 13 countries, the company said today.

Waste is one of the six areas that Kraft has identified as sweet spots for improving the firm's environmental responsibility and sustainability. (The others are agricultural commodities, packaging, energy, water and operations related to transportation and distribution.) And manufacturing accounts for more than 99 percent of the solid waste Kraft generates.

"We're waging war on waste, one plant at a time," said Christine McGrath, Kraft vice president for global sustainability, in a statement.

Last year, the company set a goal of reducing net waste from manufacturing by 15 percent by 2015. That target builds on Kraft's earlier goal to cut waste by 15 percent between 2005 and 2011, which the firm handily exceeded: By the end of 2010, Kraft had slashed waste by 42 percent. The percentages represent reductions in the ratio of kilos of waste resulting from a ton of production.

As of today, waste reduction by Kraft, normalized to production, stands at 50 percent compared to 2005 levels, the company said in a recap of its efforts since revising the waste reduction goal last May.

The firm is now recycling or reusing as much as 90 percent of manufacturing waste, and at some sites byproducts from manufacturing are used to create energy. Twelve of the plants that no longer send waste to landfill are in the United States, 24 are in Europe and several other facilities have made strides in reducing rubbish.

Here are some highlights from Kraft's progress report, which praised employees for coming up with novel ways to cut waste and new uses for byproducts:

United States

• Bakeries in Chicago and Naperville, Ill., that make Nabisco and Triscuit products became zero waste by the end of last year.

• A Philadelphia Cream Cheese plant in Beaver Dam, Wisc., worked with the city to build an anaerobic digester, which processes whey waste into biogas that is used to generate electricity for the local grid.

• Two plants in the California city of Fresno and one in San Leandro diverted more than 100 tons of food waste for use as animal feed. The facilities, which make Capri Sun, Kool-Aid, Tang, Maxwell House, Yuban and Cornnuts, have received several honors from the state's Waste Reduction Awards Program.

Russia

• A coffee plant in St. Petersburg cut waste sent to landfill by 90 percent by reusing coffee bean shipping bags and pallets and by sending off 15,000 tons of coffee grounds to be turned into fertilizer for farms in the area.

Indonesia

• Plants in Cikarang and Karawang, where plastic packaging film creates most of the waste, found a recycler that turns the material into bags and buckets. The facilities cut waste by 40 percent last year.

Austria

• During the past year, a coffee plant in Vienna has sent 250 tons of used coffee bean husks to a biomass power plant that creates heat and electricity for nearby homes.

Germany

• A Philadelphia Cream Cheese plant in Fallingbostel has been a zero waste facility since 2009.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Clean Wal-Mart