Nature's Path Foods is the largest manufacturer of organic breakfast cereal in North America. Our Sussex, Wisconsin, facility is where many of our products are made. The Sussex facility produces millions of pounds of organic cereal, granola, toaster pastries and stone ground tortilla chips every year. As a company, we are committed to being zero waste in everything we do. For our production facility in Sussex, that means we need to instill that understanding in the over 200 team members who work there every day.
The plant was able to achieve 90 percent diversion rate mainly by removing waste streams from our production facility, focusing on sourcing reusable or recyclable materials from suppliers, and reducing our food waste.
In 2017, we were able to reduce our food waste to under four percent, a reduction by almost 50 percent from 2014. Food waste includes spills, errors and processing by-product. Whenever food product is "wasted," we make sure it doesn't go to waste. We work with local animal feed produces, who convert our spilled grains, sugar and syrups into feed products.
Between 2015 and 2016, our team members focused on identifying waste to remove from our landfill through either diversion or removing it completely from the waste stream. Improved signage, training and education were the biggest difference makers. This pushed our 87 percent diversion rate over 90 percent, which in real pounds meant a reduction of over 45 tons of landfill.
Every two years we conduct a full waste audit of our plants. This helps us identify our biggest opportunities for reduction, which we can then approach one by one. In 2015, our waste audit identified that we were sending too many recyclable materials to landfill by mistake, with mixed paper and cardboard being a significant contributor to the problems. Working hand-in-hand with Waste Management, we made an effort to ensure we had the correct services and "right-sized" our equipment. It made a big difference. Bringing in the proper sized cardboard compactor, placing recycling bins where needed and increasing pickups results in a big reduction in recyclables ending up in the landfill bin