Achieving zero waste seems to be the biggest goal with many food companies. Coca-Cola has done it. Kit Kat has done it, and now Kraft is following their footsteps. The company recently announced that it sends no waste to landfills in 36 of its manufacturing plants in 13 countries. Kraft has been steadily working towards building up its sustainability efforts. In fact, their goals for 2015 are very ambitious.
Waste management is one of the six areas of focus for Kraft’s CSR and sustainability program. They also focus on agricultural commodities, packaging, energy, water and operations related to transportation and distribution. Kraft has been steadily working towards waste reduction – by the end of 2010, the company had slashed 42 percent of its wastes.
The company recycles or reuses about 90 percent of its manufacturing waste. They have also focused on energy generation from wastes at some plants. Out of the 36 zero-waste plants, 12 are in the US and 24 are in Europe. The company is also making progress in reducing wastes in all of its other plants.
Kraft used a model of employee engagement to come up with viable plans to reduce waste and help them reach their targets. In each country of their operation, the company asked their employees for suggestions on how to reduce waste. In the US, their Beaver Dam plant in Wisconsin that manufactures Philadelphia Cream Cheese built an anaerobic digester – this processed waste into energy that was fed into the local grid. The Fresno and San Leandro plants in California diverted more than 100 tons of food waste to use as animal feed.
In St. Petersburg, Russia, a coffee plant reused coffee bean shipping bags as well as turned 15,000 tons of coffee grounds into fertilizer. This cut waste sent to the landfill by 90 percent. In Indonesia, plastic packaging film created the most waste and two plants found a recycler that turned this into bags and buckets. These plants cut down 40 percent of their waste.
In Europe, the Viennese coffee plant sent 250 tons of used coffee bean husks to be converted into biogas to power local homes. Some plants have been waste-free for more than two years by using employee suggestions as well as working with local city councils. By keeping the dialogue open, they are able to foster innovation by using local knowledge and their waste management targets are sure to reflect in their overall emission reduction targets.
In all honesty, I cannot get behind Kraft’s orange cheese, but I can get behind their policy of zero waste and stakeholder engagement.