Sara Lee Corporation is a global manufacturer and marketer of high-quality, brand-named food and beverage products. This policy pertains to all Sara Lee Corporation operations and business processes that consume resources and have the potential to produce wastes and by-products.
We are committed to eliminating wastes that are produced during the manufacture of our products, minimizing the proportion of our wastes disposed in landfills and working with partners, suppliers, customers, consumers and stakeholders to help minimize their waste generation during the lifecycle of our products.
- Measure each waste stream produced from our direct operations;
- Understand the impact of global waste management trends on our business;
- Set goals to reduce the generation of wastes and disposal of our wastes in landfills;
- Apply the waste hierarchy (remove, reduce, reuse, recover and recycle) to minimize waste generation through a combination of improved product design, production efficiency, technology change and implementation of waste management best practices;
- Consider waste minimization and potential waste impacts when we deploy capital and design new products;
Engage employees in a company-wide culture of responsible waste management; and
- Engage business partners, suppliers, customers and stakeholders to minimize waste generation throughout the lifecycle of our products.
Waste Management Performance
Sara Lee operations have focused on reduction of shipments of waste to landfills for over a decade. Efforts to redirect process byproducts to other productive uses, such as production of animal feed by others, have been very successful. Today, nearly all animal or vegetable process byproducts are reused by third-party processors.
Sara Lee has reduced the volume of landfilled materials per unit of production by six percent since 2005, including the temporary increase in landfilled material generated at Sara Lee’s coffee production facility in Thailand. In Thailand, significant quantities of spent coffee grounds are generated as a waste stream. This waste stream was used in the fertilizer industry until mid-2011, when this alternative was no longer available. Approximately 10,000 metric tons of spent coffee slurry was temporarily diverted to a landfill in fiscal 2011, representing nearly 40% of the total amount of waste landfilled globally by Sara Lee. Excluding the Thailand slurry volume yields a worldwide reduction in Sara Lee waste to landfill of 44% as compared to the baseline year 2005. During fiscal 2011, our search for alternative recovery options in Thailand succeeded in establishing new recovery processes. The spent coffee grounds are now supplied to a cement manufacturer where they are added to the solid fuel mix.
The charts below reflect our performance since 2005 as described above.
Successful Waste Management Efforts
When the Tarboro, N.C. plant underwent a complete reroofing, nearly 14 metric tons of old roofing material from the project was recycled rather than sent to landfills. Sara Lee’s roofing contractor Lin-Way saved all roof membrane material that was removed and arranged for it to be recycled by Nationwide Foam Recycling in support of the plant’s goal to reduce the amount of waste it generated.
Thanks to recycling efforts, incineration with energy recovery and heightened employee awareness and participation, the Douwe Egberts Cafitesse coffee plant in Suffolk, Va. achieved zero waste to landfill for a full year, capping efforts begun two years earlier. In fiscal 2009, the plant sent 180 metric tons of waste to landfills and recycled another 137 metric tons. In fiscal 2010, waste to landfill dropped to just 20 metric tons, while recycled waste jumped to 206 metric tons. In fiscal 2011, the amount to landfill was zero for the entire year. These efforts represent just one of the ways the Cafitesse plant is turning itself into a state-of-the-industry sustainable facility. For instance, the plant also is transitioning to a paperless environment by using digital display boards, electronic training and an electronic document approval processes.
An employee suggestion led to the addition of a new recycling station at the Zeeland, Mich. meat processing plant. The multi-bin dumpster is a welcome addition to the plant’s parking lot and makes it easy for employees to recycle clean glass, plastic and metal containers; cardboard; paper; magazines; plastic bags; and other items. Additional can and bottle recycling bins located in the plant’s cafeteria collect materials on behalf of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross periodically picks up the contents of the bins and collects the 10 cent deposit that is available in Michigan for these materials. The money raised is used to support local disaster victims. Annually, the can and bottle recycling raises between $800 and $1,000 for local Red Cross services.
Employees in Forest Park, Ga. knew they were making progress toward reducing the plant’s carbon footprint, but they weren’t satisfied with results to date. Despite reducing the amount of waste to landfill from 2,950 metric tons in fiscal 2007 to 1,320 metric tons in fiscal 2010, they knew they could do more. A 10-member team identified recyclable material; educated plant employees on what actions were needed and put a plan into practice. The plant’s aggressive efforts have resulted in 955 metric tons of waste being recycled rather than sent to landfills, and has even started to carry over into employees’ home lives.
A campaign among Rock Island, Ill. employees urged them to reduce unnecessary paper usage and make payday more efficient by signing up for direct deposit of their pay checks. They also were encouraged to switch to paperless paycheck stubs. Every employee who made the switch earned an extra entry in the month’s Safety Incentive drawing.