West Liberty Foods’ (WLF) Tremonton, UT facility has successfully achieved landfill-free status. This status was independently verified by NSF International Strategic Registrations Ltd. (NSF-ISR). NSF-ISR’s parent organization, NSF International, writes standards and tests that certify products for the food, water, building products and consumer goods industries. West Liberty Foods is among the first companies in the US to have its landfill-free claim verified by a third-party organization.
The NSF-ISR verification process was used to ensure that West Liberty Foods could demonstrate the total waste from its Tremonton facility entering the landfill was less than the industry acceptable 1 percent. Through working to accomplish this status, West Liberty Foods’ Tremonton facility has successfully diverted nearly 3.5 million pounds of annual waste from the local landfill.
“West Liberty Foods is excited by the positive environmental impact achieved by the combination of our staff and state-of-the-art facilities,” says Gerald Lessard, vice president and chief operating officer for West Liberty Foods. “Our commitment has always been to set the industry standard for food safety, and now we’ve been able to become a leader in the environmental arena as well.”
West Liberty Foods developed a two-step approach to accomplishing this new status. First, the facility completed an internal audit to assess current practices. This audit allowed the facility to increase its recycling initiatives by identifying local vendors to recycle waste for energy. After the audit, internal processes were developed and extensive employee training was undertaken. West Liberty Foods’ employees are critical to the overall success of this program.
According to Michelle Elizondo, West Liberty marketing manager, “Food scraps/waste is a small part of our waste stream that is being recycled/reused. Packaging waste ranges from 30-50 percent, and it is either recycled or used for energy. Pallets are being rebuilt for reuse or are recycled, if needed.” Some of the waste is used for fertilizer, and other wastes are converted to steam that produces energy.
With the success seen in Tremonton, West Liberty Foods plans to duplicate the landfill-free program in its remaining facilities located in Mount Pleasant, IA and West Liberty, IA.