With the release of its 2018 Sustainability Report, Smithfield Foods announced the company’s commitment to reduce overall solid waste sent to landfills 75% by 2025. This includes certifying at least 35 of its U.S. facilities, or three-quarters of its domestic facilities, as zero-waste-to-landfill by 2025.
Through this initiative the company will minimize and recycle or reuse materials that were once considered garbage, ultimately reducing waste sent to landfills in numerous communities throughout the country. This initiative is a new target within Smithfield’s sustainability program, which also includes a goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) 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,” says Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods. “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, Smithfield has nearly a quarter of its U.S. facilities certified as zero-waste-to-landfill and has plans to certify 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 send any waste to landfill for 12 months;
- Cut normalized waste by at least 10% from the facility baseline;
- Reuse or recycle at least 50% of generated waste;
- Limit incineration without energy recovery to hazardous and medical wastes;
- Reduce stabilized and landfilled hazardous waste to 0.1% of waste generated;
- Ensure waste management costs do not exceed 105% of baseline costs; and,
- Maintain 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,” says Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. “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.”
In addition to this new environmental target, Smithfield continues to make progress toward goals set under each of its key sustainability pillars focused on enhancing care for our animals, improving the environment, ensuring the highest standards of food safety and quality, strengthening the communities we call home, and protecting and engaging our people.