The Hershey Co. recently announced that its facilities in Lancaster, Pa., and Robinson, Ill, have achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status.
The chocolate maker now has six U.S. facilities that no longer dispose routine waste into landfills, exceeding its goal to convert five plants to zero-waste status by 2015 – well ahead of schedule.
"This achievement reflects Hershey's unwavering commitment to reduce our environmental impact while continuing to manufacture the highest-quality confections," said Terence O'Day, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer for Hershey.
"Converting plants to ZWL is challenging, but our plant employees have shown how deeply dedicated they are to environmental stewardship. They have worked extremely hard to reach this important milestone."
To achieve zero-waste-to-landfill status, Hershey's manufacturing facilities have reduced their overall waste streams and increased recycling rates to approximately 90 percent, according to the company.
All remaining waste is sent to nearby waste-to-energy incinerators, eliminating the need for landfill disposal. Although not without controversy, the incinerators produce energy, which also reduces overall reliance on fossil fuels.
Hershey now has eight facilities that have achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status:
- Hazleton Plant (Hazleton, Pa.)
- Reese Plant (Hershey, Pa.)
- West Hershey Plant (Hershey, Pa.)
- Y&S Plant (Lancaster, Pa.)
- Robinson Plant (Robinson, Ill.)
- Stuarts Draft (Stuarts Draft, Va.)
- Hershey's Chocolate World (Hershey, Pa.)
- Eastern Distribution Center III (Palmyra, Pa.)
To further reduce its carbon footprint, the company has added biogas-capturing equipment at four of its U.S. facilities. By utilizing the energy-conversion equipment, the four facilities are less reliant on fossil fuels for energy, the company noted.
Two sets of solar arrays at facilities in Hershey, Pa., also contribute to reducing Hershey's environmental footprint.
The Hershey solar arrays eliminate more than 200 metric tons of greenhouse gases each year, according to the company. The amount of greenhouse gases eliminated by the arrays is equivalent to taking approximately 50 cars off the road each year.
Founder Milton Hershey started the company's first recycling center in Hershey, Pa., in 1937, long before recycling was a common practice, the company noted.