Perdue Farms becomes U.S. first poultry to gain GreenCircle Zero Waste to Landfill certification

Published 10:07 am Sunday, March 1, 2020

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SALISBURY, MD – According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 52.1% of the waste generated in the United States, or 139 million tons, went to landfill in 2017.

Additionally, by 2021 the United States is expected to have 15 years left before reaching capacity at domestic landfills, according to Solid Waste Management Environmental Excellence Protocol, “Time is Running Out: The U.S. Landfill Capacity Crisis.”

With these environmental challenges in mind, Perdue Farms announced on Feb. 26 that its Lewiston, N.C. operation is now GreenCircle Zero Waste to Landfill certified. This means 100 percent of the waste materials leaving the facility are diverted from landfill via GreenCircle’s acceptable means of diversion such as reuse, recycling, or incineration for energy, also known as waste-to-energy.

Members of the wastewater and recycle team at Perdue’s plant outside of Lewiston-Woodville include, from left, Ronnie Revell, Ashton Weller, Curt Dail, Charles McEachern, and Cliff Smallwood. Contributed Photo

Perdue Farms has established aggressive five-year environmental sustainability goals, including diverting 90 percent of solid waste generated and not sent to landfills by 2022.

“The certification is important because it aligns with our vision to be the most trusted name in food and agriculture products and our goal to be good environmental stewards. It also continues our decades-long track record of environmental stewardship and responsible management of our resources,” said Vice President of Sustainability Steve Levitsky. “Our waste diversion goal is ambitious, and we chose GreenCircle because they have the most rigorous certification available on the market. As a company Perdue is focused on continuous improvement, and Lewiston is just the beginning. We are planning to have five additional facilities go through the audit and certification process by the end of 2022.”

GreenCircle Zero Waste Diversion certification is designed to help companies demonstrate their commitment to minimizing waste and develop programs to responsibly manage all waste created in their facilities with a goal of diverting 100% of waste from landfill.

To receive certification, the Lewiston plant went through a rigorous audit and assessment process, including an audit of all waste streams, inspection of all waste receptacles, and assessment of all third-party waste management companies to confirm management methods and diversion rates. Additionally, GreenCircle provided recommendations for improvement based on their findings.

“We commend Perdue’s commitment to transparency and continuous improvement,” says Tad Radzinski, Certification Officer at GreenCircle. “The goal of our Zero Waste to Landfill certification is to help companies understand where they are with waste minimization and zero waste programs. That information enables them to minimize waste and manage materials to reduce their environmental impact.”

Every aspect of the operations’ waste was assessed including the personal protective equipment worn by associates, the process used to minimize contamination of the cardboard recycling stream, and the reuse of oil onsite, just to name a few examples.