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Not All Of Sunny Delight’s Sustainability Progress Is So Sunny

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday July 19th, 2012 | 2 Comments

Sunny Delight Beverages Company (SDBC), makers of the popular orange-flavored drink, recently released their fourth annual sustainability report. It is a proverbial mixed bag. While the company did not make overall progress towards meeting its 2015 goals of a 25 percent reduction in water use, energy use and carbon emissions, it did achieve reductions at two of its plants. The Anaheim plant reduced its carbon emissions by seven percent. Both the Anaheim and South Brunswick plants reduced their water use by over 12 percent, and their energy use by over six percent. In addition, both plants recirculated or recycled almost three billion gallons of water.

Although the report states that the company intends to meet its 25 reduction goals for water, energy and carbon footprint by 2015, it acknowledges that it is experiencing an increase in water and energy usage. What is missing are ways that the company intends to meet those goals. The report could have been strengthened by adding a section about future projects to meet the reduction goals.

There are two goals that SDBC not only met, but met three years ahead of the 2013 target. One of those goals is achieving zero waste to landfill, which it achieved in 2011. Since 2007, SDBC diverted almost 36 million pounds of waste from landfills. The other goal that the company met three years ahead of schedule is reducing the average number of calories in all of its beverages by 46 percent. For example, SDBC reduced eight ounce beverages from 92 calorie per ounce serving to 50 calories. It hopes to reduce to 45 calories per ounce serving for an eight ounce beverage by the end of 2012.

Here is an overview of SDBC’s progress toward meeting its other goals:

Plastic and packaging reduction

The goal is reduce the amount of plastic and packaging in products by 25 million pounds by 2015. To date, packaging reductions total 12 million pounds. A new square shaped bottle is helping reduce overall packaging, and once fully implemented, will reduce 9.7 million pounds of material a year. The square bottles take up 15 percent less space in storage which enables three of its plants to reduce by 15 percent the number of trucks needed to deliver empty bottles. The square bottles also take up 22 percent less space in shipping containers, and contain less corrugate for retailers to discard. SDBC estimates that the new square bottle will reduce company’s use of corrugate by 12 million pounds a year.

Recycling content

An average of 37 percent of resin used during the bottle making process was recycled across all high density polyethylene (HDPE) bottle sizes.

Transportation

SDBC Began using compressed natural gas (CNG) in its fleet in the Los Angeles market. The CNG vehicles emit up to 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than diesel vehicles. The company predicts that using the CNG vehicles will result in a reduction of about 400,000 gallons of diesel.

Photo: Wikipedia


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  • Dorry

    Until I googled it just now, I actually thought Sunny Delight was a brand of orange juice.  What exactly is it? 

    • jenboynton

      An orange-juice like product? Good point, we should probably make that clear in the article! I’ll update it.