Blog: Katy AskewCargill unveils first landfill-free facility

Katy Askew | 15 April 2015

The Cargill meat processing facility in Hazleton, Pa., has become the company's first certified landfill-free production site. 

The 225,000-square-foot plant employs 600 people and produces more than 10m pounds of beef, pork and ground meat products monthly. It also sends zero waste to landfill. 

This was achieved in just three years. In 2012, the plant sent 1,500 tonnes of waste to local landfills. It wasn't until 2013 that employees at the facility began stepping up their recycling efforts. Within five months, Hazleton reduced the amount of waste going to landfills by 280 tonnes. 

This was good news for the environment. It was also good for the company's bottom line. According to Cargill, already this initial effort saved US$30,000. 

"Having successfully taken the first step, the Hazleton team decided to strive for something that had never been accomplished at Cargill," explained Aaron Humes, the plant's general manager.  "We weren't certain we could go all the way to landfill-free status, but we were confident that we could significantly improve our sustainability footprint."

The Hazleton team attributed its success to the engagement of all employees in the effort and strengthened relationships with customers. 

As John Keating, president of Cargill's beef and case ready meat products business observed: "This planet is home to more than seven billion people, and it will need to sustain more than nine billion by 2050... Clearly, doing what is best for people, the planet and the community has been woven into the Hazleton team's cultural fabric."

But its about more than doing the right thing. This comes as further example of the growing awareness that good business is good business. Cargill did not provide total savings figures but by eliminating waste to landfill the production site has generated cost savings as well as improved its environmental footprint, demonstrating why sustainability should be at the heart of every business strategy. 

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