Sunny Delight Goes Zero Waste

CINCINNATI, OH — Sunny Delight's six manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Spain went zero waste earlier this year, meeting the juice maker's 2013 waste and recycling goal three years early.

The Ohio-based company also made strides in other environmental goals, Sunny Delight explained in its 2009 Sustainability Report (PDF) released this week, which spans several areas of its operation, including transportation and logistics, packaging, energy and water use, and waste.

Sunny Delight made the most gains in reducing and eliminating landfill waste. The company went from sending 1,140 tons of waste to landfills in 2007 to 418 tons in 2009 when half of its manufacturing facilities fulfilled its goal. By early 2010, the remaining plants had met the zero waste goal, helped along by a variety of efforts, such as going paperless for all accounts payable and expense reporting functions, and allowing vendors to file invoices and payments electronically.  

The company said its manufacturing plants increased their product volume by more than 5 percent since 2007, but the company's total water use in 2009 was nearly 2 percent lower than in 2007, despite a slight uptick in 2008. The company has chosen to focus its water efforts on reducing the amount of water needed to support its manufacturing processes and personnel, which accounts for 53 percent of total use, leaving out the water that ends up in its products.

The company's 2011 water goal is based on the volume of non-product water used per gallon of production. Using this metric, SunnyD wants to trim water use 25 percent by 2011, relative to a 2007 baseline. In 2009, water use was down 6 percent below 2007 levels, following a slight increase the year before.

Sunny Delight also uses an index goal for its energy use. The company's 2011 energy goal involves reducing per-unit energy use by 25 percent, based on 2007 levels. By this measure, the company reduced energy use by 8 percent in 2009, a light increase from the year before.

"While we want to make further energy efficiency improvements, our 2009 energy efficiency savings are significant," the company noted. "The 2009 improvements represent the amount of energy consumed annually in 317 average Midwest households (based on 2001 Energy Information Administration data)."

Sunny Delight made better progress on its climate goal, which calls for a 25 percent reduction in per-unit emissions. Its absolute emissions shrank nearly 17 percent, while its normalized emissions declined nearly 20 percent from 2007 levels. Sunny Delight credits the decline to a variety of efforts in areas such as waste and supply chain.

Other notable achievements include increasing intermodal shipments 40 percent between 2008 and 2009, and reducing the packaging weight of its Crystal Light and Fruit2O 16-oz bottles and caps by nearly 21 percent.

Image courtesy of Sunny Delight.