Perdue turkey plant earns zero waste designation

Poultry processing facility is company’s third to receive GreenCircle Zero Waste to Landfill certification.

Poultry processor Perdue Farms says its food-producing facility in Washington, Indiana, has earned GreenCircle Zero Waste to Landfill certification, making it the first United States turkey processing facility and third Perdue facility to earn the certification.

After an audit that ran from May 2021 to April 2022, Pennsylvania-based GreenCircle Certified LLC validated that the Indiana operation diverted 100 percent of its waste from going to landfills starting in January of 2022, says Perdue. During the audit period, the food company says it kept nearly 155 million pounds (77,500 tons) of material from entering landfills, says the firm.

Perdue says GreenCircle tracked all waste streams at the facility, including hazardous and non-hazardous materials, inspection of all waste receptacles, and assessment of all third-party waste management companies to confirm management methods and diversion rates. “Every aspect of the operation’s waste was assessed, including the personal protective equipment worn by associates, the process used to minimize contamination of the cardboard recycling stream, and the beneficial reuse of cardboard, paper and feathers, as a few examples,” the company says.

“The certification of our Indiana operation reflects the effort behind achieving our company’s vision to be the most trusted name in food and agricultural products, and our commitment to being good stewards of our environment,” says Drew Getty, a vice president with Perdue Farms.

In 2020, Perdue’s Lewiston, North Carolina, facility became what the company calls the first U.S. poultry company to earn GreenCircle certification, and the company’s Petaluma, California, operation attained the status last year.

“This achievement required an enormous collective effort from our team here, and we are tremendously proud to contribute to the company's overall goals to reduce our environmental impact,” says Brandon Bottorff, director of operations at Perdue’s Indiana facility. “The GreenCircle team’s expertise helped us solidify best practices and processes for achieving our goals as well as continuous improvement.”

Michelle Bonanno, director of operations at GreenCircle, says, “Perdue’s pursuit of their waste diversion goals demonstrates that transparency and continuous improvement are essential to the way they do business. Our Zero Waste to Landfill certification requires absolute commitment to waste diversion and waste minimization.”

In 2018, Perdue Farms established five-year environmental sustainability goals, including improving its solid waste diversion from landfills by 90 percent by 2023. The company says it has diverted more than 94 percent of solid waste from landfills subsequently.