West Liberty Foods, an Iowa-based turkey company and foodservice supplier, has had all of its facilities verified as landfill-free. The company’s operations in Bolingbrook, Illinois — West Liberty Foods and Liberty Cold — were the last West Liberty Foods locations to achieve this impressive milestone, doing so in April 2016.
Since October 2015, the facilities have eliminated over 9.2 million pounds of waste from local landfills.
Building on West Liberty Foods’ success in transitioning its other three manufacturing locations to landfill-free, this latest move means the organization is one of the first in the nation to be verified landfill-free companywide, eliminating nearly 120 million pounds annually of waste previously sent to local landfills, or approximately 5,000 garbage trucks.
“We are incredibly proud of the effort it took to accomplish this significant achievement in our company,” said Ed Garrett, president and CEO of West Liberty Foods. “We are committed to ensuring we remain landfill-free long-term, always striving to improve our environmental footprint.”
West Liberty Foods Environmental, Health and Safety Director Michelle Boney was a driving force in the efforts, implementing small process changes that led to large waste reductions.
“Commitment from company leadership and awareness of employees are key to successfully making the change,” Boney said. “Working together, we developed a way to do things differently, implemented new processes and finding an alternative for all waste.”
According to a press release from West Liberty Foods, the company engages in robust recycling programs and partnerships with waste vendors, relying on company employees to take actions to minimize by-products. All of West Liberty Foods’ locations employ ISO 14001 certified environmental management systems to help manage their environmental impact, including waste elimination.
Other plants to reach landfill-free status
West Liberty Foods developed and implemented a waste-reduction business plan, allowing its Tremonton, Utah, facility to become the company’s first landfill-free facility in February 2012. By the end of 2012, two other West Liberty Foods operations – Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and West Liberty, Iowa, – also achieved landfill-free status.
West Liberty Foods’ landfill-free status was independently verified by NSF International Strategic Registrations (NSF-ISR), an organization that certifies products and writes standards for food, water and consumer goods. The verification process was used to confirm the total waste being sent to landfills from its facilities is less than the one percent— including manufacturing refuse, incoming packaging, office paper and food waste.
The West Liberty Foods and Liberty Cold employees celebrated the landfill-free status with a special event ceremony held June 30 in Bolingbrook with Congressman Bill Foster, D-Ill., and Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar as featured speakers.