St. Louis-based Nestlé Purina PetCare Co. says it has reached its goal to achieve zero waste for disposal across all manufacturing operations in the United States, plus its corporate headquarters, in 2020.
“Purina is passionate about pets and the planet, and sustainability is a central factor in our operations and product development,” says John Bear, the company’s vice president of manufacturing. “I’m incredibly proud of the effort it took to accomplish this goal of being zero waste across our operations. This achievement is a testament to the passion and commitment of our more than 8,000 employees across the country who are working to create a better world for us to share with our pets.”
The company says its definition of zero waste for disposal means that all 21 of Purina’s manufacturing sites and its St. Louis headquarters “have found ways to derive benefits from materials that would have otherwise been discarded."
All locations now recycle, reuse, recover or compost waste from daily operations. In certain cases, locations also may use destinations that convert waste to energy to generate power.
According to the company, “Purina products feed 49 million dogs and 66 million cats every year, so reaching 100 percent across all Purina brands and factories was no small feat.”
As part of Purinia’s process, each site began with a review to understand its waste streams. That process helped facilities identify solutions and improve processes to minimize waste generation at the source while also identifying vendors who could support efforts to handle remaining materials in a sustainable way.
The company says some of the materials from Purina facilities helped transform the company's Yesterday’s News alternative cat litter, which uses recycled paperboard as a key ingredient.
“By focusing on reducing waste and finding beneficial uses for materials that would have otherwise been discarded, Purina employees led the charge by driving innovation towards a more circular economy,” says Gopi Sandhu, the company’s director of sustainable operations. “Some of our former waste materials now become soil amendments, needed to grow our healthy ingredients. Others are converted to methane, which is then captured to fuel the types of carbon-neutral energy we increasingly rely on.”
Purina says it also is working toward making the packaging for all of its pet care products 100 percent recyclable or reusable by 2025 and acting on a goal to use 100 percent renewable electricity at all of its sites.