Nestlé USA Factories Are Landfill Free

Who says a global food company has to send waste to landfills? Nestlé USA certainly doesn't think so. The company recently announced that all of its factories are landfill-free. All 23 of its factories in the U.S. do not send waste to landfills. 

Nestlé has the global goal of having 10 percent of its global factories achieve zero waste to landfill. It’s a goal the company exceeded. In 2013, 11 percent of its factories met the goal. In 2014, 15 percent of the company’s factories worldwide achieved zero waste to landfill. 

Nestlé has been working to reduce its waste for a long time. Since 2004, it has reduced waste for disposal per ton of product by 69.9 percent and reduced total waste for disposal by 51.5 percent. However, it has bigger goals, including achieving zero waste for all UK and European factories by 2020.

Reducing pet food waste and recycling by-products

The multinational company doesn’t just produce food for humans. It has a pet food line. Nestlé Purina has reduced pet food waste by 34 percent since 2010. In 2010, Nestlé’s dry pet food factory in Oklahoma City started to reduce its waste and eventually set a goal to have zero impact on the environment. The factory recycled warehouse cardboard waste, wooden pallets and paper from offices and started sending pet food waste to compost last year. Called the War On Waste, through the initiative the factory has reduced its operating costs. 

Nestlé works to recycle material generated during manufacturing, known as by-products. In 2014, 37 percent of by-products were recycled and 22 percent composted, and 13 percent were incinerated by energy recovery. Some examples of by-product recovery include:

  • Composting: Eighty-eight percent of the sludge produced by the company’s wastewater treatment plants is recovered and for controlled land spreading, sludge digestion, methanisation and composting. 
  • Incineration with energy recovery: Spent coffee grounds from the manufacturing process are used in 22 Nescafé factories to produce renewable energy. 

Reducing food waste

Every year over a third of the food produced is lost or wasted. Food rotting in a landfill produces methane, a greenhouse gas with a warming potential 21 times that of carbon dioxide. In 2013, methane accounted for about 10 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the U.S.

Nestlé has more than halved the amount of waste generated in its factories, per ton of product, and works to help reduce food waste in its entire value chain, from farm to consumers. To that end, it established the Nestlé Zero Food Wastage Taskforce in 2013. Earlier this year, the company launched the Nestlé Commitment on Food Waste and called on governments and stakeholders to take action to prevent food waste.

Photo: Aftab Uzzaman