6th Annual Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing Awards
ProFood World will honor exceptional sustainability achievements within food, beverage and consumer products manufacturing operations during this special session. Nine award-winning food and beverage companies will present case studies on source reduction, utility usage, pollution prevention, enhanced environmental programs and other green topics. Award winners include Snyder's-Lance, Hormel, Hiland Dairy Foods, Land O'Lakes, Conagra Brands, Keystone Foods, and Smithfield.
1st place: Snyder’s-Lance, Wastewater Sludge Land Application
The snack maker’s wastewater pretreatment operations generated approximately 5,000 gallons of sludge daily that needed to be disposed (primary and secondary activated sludge). Located in a remote area, the options for sludge disposal were limited to either landfill or paying large costs to haul several hundred miles away. Sending to landfill was the best option, but the material had to be dewatered, otherwise it could not be transported to the landfill. The company’s dewatering process was a large plate and frame press that utilized a large volume of chemicals to process and treat. Snyder’s-Lance began working with the state DEP and local farmers to get the wet material permitted for land application, which significantly reduced operations cost, as well as time and operator oversight in the sludge management practice.
2nd place tie: Conagra Brands, Green Team Council Bluffs
Conagra Brands’ facility in Council Bluffs, Iowa focused on increasing recycling and reducing unnecessary water usage. The renaming of the newly renovated waste dock to the Recycling Operations Center helped change the employee perception of waste, while diverting 2,100 additional tons of waste in 2016. Additionally, diversion rate was improved 10% over the same period. The team also began a site-wide initiative to identify and fix leaks through the Green Team’s Leak Stoppers. Identification of 32 leaks saved 2.1 million gallons of water. The last major project undertaken by the Green Team was identifying and validating a process change for cooling sauces, saving an additional 24.7 million gallons of water.
Hormel Foods, Solid Waste Stream Optimization
Hormel’s Beloit, Wisconsin plant performed an analysis of its landfill and recycling processes, involving interviews with 200 employees, supervisor waste stream audits, and third-party audits by Waste Management and Quincy Farm Products. The feedback was organized in a SWOT analysis and priorities were chosen using a pay-off matrix. Several new opportunities were added to the recycling stream (foam pads, colored plastic, full canned goods). The number of service providers has been consolidated and greater emphasis was placed on office/ break room recycling and corrugated recycling.
3rd place: Smithfield Salt Lake City, Plastic Wrap Savings
The plastic pallet wrapper has been wrapping inefficiently for several years. Smithfield decided to have the authorized vendor do an initial overhaul on the machine and then schedule regular maintenance on it to keep it operating properly. The initial maintenance cost about $1,500. Immediately, Smithfield began seeing a great reduction in the amount of wrap being used. After tracking this for a year, the company saved 420 rolls of film, which equals 16,800 lbs. of solid waste and $15,904. The five-year cost savings will be approximately $82,500.
The presenters in the projects category include:
1st place: Smithfield, Packaging Reduction Project
Smithfield’s Middlesboro facility creates approximately 8.5 million packages of ham steaks per year. The product line was being packaged with a film combination of 7 mil thickness for the bottom and 3 mil for the top. The team recognized an opportunity to reduce the package thickness and ultimately reduce waste generation. The purchasing team began working with vendors on new packaging and began testing samples of different films. The Middlesboro team found the best film to suit the production needs while increasing efficiency and minimize waste generation. The facility is now able to use 23% less packaging for production line 6 and create 28% more impressions per roll resulting in fewer changeovers with an overall cost savings of $170,210.
2nd place tie: Hiland Dairy Foods, Wastewater and Land Revitalization
The company purchased 620 acres of land a mile from the plant to construct a whey recycling/wastewater treatment facility, which eventually expanded into additional sustainability efforts:
• Wastewater Treatment: Lagoons (microbiologically treat wastewater), two aeration ponds, four holding ponds. have a combined capacity of 28M gallons. Treats 250,000 gallons of wastewater daily.
• Irrigation System and Crop Production: Four irrigation systems and planted crops use the recycled water. Area farmers purchase harvested crops for feed.
• Whey Recycling: Hiland separates the water from cottage cheese whey; the water goes to holding ponds; the whey is filtered into a silo and held until used as fertilizer.
• Land Revitalization: Hiland had 340 acres of unusable land with abandoned oil wells and dead trees. The soil was a mixture of orange clay and sand. Hiland implemented a teabag recycling program to enrich and fertilize the soil.
Keystone Foods, Fresh Poultry Processing Plant Pursues Water Conservation
In 2016, Keystone Foods’ Alabama (Eufaula) plant used more than 463M gallons of water for poultry processing. In 2017, the facility set a 30% water reduction goal. Water savings were achieved by installing of water-saving shower heads on sinks throughout the plant, a re-use system for the vacuum pumps (saves ~39M gallons/year), a finishing chiller re-use system (saves ~3M gallons/year), and a foam reduction mixer for the water reuse system (saves ~20M gallons/year); the removal of the shower heads in each cropper that flood the cavity of the bird (saves ~10M gallons/year); and a reduction of the main chiller overflow by nearly 23M gallons/year. These modifications resulted in a projected annual reduction of more than 144M gallons - a 31.2% annual water usage reduction -- resulting in an annual savings of $1,040,000.
3rd place tie: Land O’ Lakes, Chiller Baffling Project
One of Land O’Lakes’ food safety requirements is to cool down hot pudding to a specific temperature within a given timeframe. Through some simple baffling, the company improved air flow in the blast chillers that allowed it to decrease the cooling time for each batch by as much as an hour per batch. This allowed the company to run the chillers about 90-120 minutes less per day. The goal was to improve product dwell time in the chillers, but also resulted earlier daily shut downs of the chillers.
Smithfield Packaged Foods, Meat Recovery Project
Due to the volume of product produced at this Smithfield facility, meat waste is shipped off to rendering at a cost of $1.00/lb. In the ham log and loaf room, much of the raw product is pumped through pipes into bags. At the end of production, a large amount of meat is left in these pipes which are broken down, washed out, collected and sent off to rendering. This meat is never exposed to any environment and could be used if captured. Two maintenance workers made it their goal to capture and reuse this meat. A plunger system was fabricated, and the production team was trained on its use and weighed the captured meat each night. The amount of meat that has been saved for reuse and not sent off was far beyond what the company imagined.