Just about every American knows the line “leggo my Eggo.” Eggo waffles are the most popular frozen waffles around, and their manufacturer, Kellogg’s Company is the world’s leading cereal company, second largest producer of snack foods and the leading North American frozen foods company. Kellogg’s has also increased sustainability efforts, and the Eggo waffles made in Kellogg’s bakery in San Jose, California are the latest demonstration of that effort. Kellogg’s recently installed fuel cell technology to produce about half of the facility’s annual electricity use. The system also uses less water to generate this power than if the power grid had supplied the energy. Bloom Energy developed the fuel cell servers which convert natural gas into electricity using a reaction more efficient than combustion.
The fuel cell servers are not all that is sustainable about the San Jose bakery. This year, the bakery started testing new types of energy efficient waffle irons, which resulted in an energy savings of 15 percent. The design of the waffle irons allows 12 percent more waffles to be produced per cycle. The improvements to San Jose bakery help meet the company’s goals of reducing energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and water use by 15 to 20 percent from 2005 to 2015, as Kellogg’s 2012 CSR report outlines.
The San Jose bakery is not the company’s only facility to get a sustainable overhaul. The CSR report also profiles the green upgrades of the company’s snacks plant in Rome, Georgia. The plant’s system of hoses and nozzles – belt washers – sprayed around 10 gallons of water every minute in 2006. In 2012, the cereal manufacturer installed new belt washers that use only two to three gallons every minute, reducing water use (per metric ton of food produced) by 69 percent. The Rome plant has also reduced waste 37 percent since 2009.
Kellogg’s has a goal of reducing waste sent to landfill by 20 percent from 2009 to 2015. From 2005 to 2009, the company reduced waste by 41.5 percent. One way it is achieving the 2015 goal is through increasing the use of recycled content. In 2012, 84 percent of the company’s food cartons were made from recycled fiber content. When it comes to its corrugated cases, the secondary packaging that protects products during transit, they have a higher amount of virgin paper fiber to keep it strong while reducing weight. However, 48 percent of the content in the corrugated cases comes from recycled content and the virgin materials are certified sustainably grown.
Initiatives to help people understand that cereal box liners are recyclable
Kellogg’s is working on initiatives to help people understand that the the liners in most of its cereal, cracker and waffles boxers are recyclable. The liners are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) which is coded as #2 flexible plastic and is the same material used to make plastic grocery bags. In the U.S. the company is implementing the How2Recycle labeling system developed by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Earlier this year, the label appeared on some Kashi and Nutri-Grain products. The goal of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition is for the label to appear on the majority of consider product packaging by 2016. In Australia, Kellogg’s is partnering with an organization called RED Group to recover and recycle flexible plastics such as box liners. The program launched in 2010 and Kellogg’s is one of 10 partners. The collected box liners will be converted into plastic park benches and playground equipment for schools and communities.