Milkbone Plant honored for its green efforts

Ashley Hirtzel/WBFO
August 30, 2013

The Buffalo based Milkbone plant owned by the Del Monte Corporation produces dog bones and treats. Recently, the factory won Del Monte’s ‘Sustainability Excellence in Education Award.’

Distribution Supervisor Mike Jackson credits employees for spearheading the effort. “We will have employees come up to use and say “we’re using so and such material on the packaging floor and right now we’re not recycling it. What can we do with this to avoid throwing it away?” It will be something very small, but all that material adds up. So, you have all those employees coming up to us even after four years pointing these things out.”

Prior to 2008 the factory was throwing away roughly 550 tons of trash each year. Jackson says that’s when they decided to make changes to reduce waste and operate as green as possible.“We arranged to have our recycling vendor “Cascades” take out trash compactor to Covanta Energy and there it’s converted to electrical energy through the waste energy process. So in May of 2009 we became a landfill free facility, at that time we were Del Monte’s first landfill free facility. ”

Milkbone’s Bill Pasquale says the company recycles almost all of their corrugated packaging and wood pallets. He says their efforts have had a great impact on the environment. “So far in our fiscal year 14’ we’ve recycled over 1 million pounds of material. We’ve saved over 896 kilowatt hours of energy. Reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 943 tons.”

Pasquale says in order to keep people excited about recycling it’s important to showcase the impact their efforts are having on the environment. He says they display that information on their “green wall” located at the entrance to the plant.
“The first day a new employee starts here he is given an orientation into recycling and waste reduction. So, from the first time he steps foot in here he understands what the company’s initiatives are.”

Buffalo’s Milkbone plant was one of three given an awarded within the Del Monte chain. In the future the company wants to try to reduce, reuse and recycle more. Pasquale says they’ve even talked about utilizing renewable energy as-well.