Pilgrim’s overall commitment is to reuse or recycle the maximum amount of materials with the goal of sending as little to landfills as possible. Each facility works to recycle material and reduce waste by optimizing facility logistics and team member training.
In each of our production facilities, we have goals to decrease the amount of packaging used in our finished products and decrease waste sent to landfills from each facility. Our Pilgrim’s Moy Park team continued to maintain its commitment of zero waste to landfill. As a company, we continue to explore alternative materials that offer recyclability and technologies that allow us to reduce the amount of packaging needed, while still maintaining strict product safety requirements. In our day-to-day operations, we work to improve recycling opportunities at each facility and reduce overall waste generated.
Product packaging provides a unique challenge for our industry, as not all customers or end-users have recycling facilities. In addition, to prevent contamination, packaging materials used at production facilities that come into contact with blood, meat or fat cannot be recycled, per the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries standards. Due to the nature of our products, this reduces our ability to recycle packaging material used at our production facilities. In Europe, our Pilgrim’s Moy Park business was the first poultry company to sign the Courtauld Commitment 2 to reduce packaging and household food waste, and reduce product and packaging waste in the supply chain.
To continue to improve our efforts in waste management, recycling and cost reduction, we often work with third-party companies in each facility to conduct a gap analysis, identify opportunities for continued innovation and adopt best practices. Working with our local teams and third-party partners at the facility level allows us to tailor our waste and recycling approach to address the specific challenges at each of our facilities. We also process byproducts, such as blood, feathers and bones, to create saleable materials and reduce waste. Nearly 100 percent of inedible byproducts are rendered to produce tallow and feather and bone meal, which we then sell to other companies to be used in consumer goods, such as in livestock or poultry feed.
of clean cardboard material, which is sent to recycling centers or paper mills to be reused
of our pallets, which are returned to our suppliers for reuse
of all metal, which is sent to a salvage yard
of clean, non contaminated plastic, which is collected in bins and then sent to either a recycling center or melted down and repurposed to make new products
of our plastic high-density polyethylene (HDPE) tote bags, which are sold to our original manufacturer and then reused in our next order, creating a closed loop system
Pilgrim’s has remained focused on reducing waste and packaging. From 2017 to 2018, total waste generated decreased by 4.8 percent, waste sent to landfills was reduced by 25.3 percent and waste to landfill per ton of finished product decreased by 25.2 percent. These reductions were achieved despite our teams experiencing numerous challenging weather events that significantly damaged facilities, which resulted in an increase in material that would have otherwise not been sent to landfill. As a highlight, our Pilgrim’s Moy Park team maintained its 0 percent to landfill efforts, and Pilgrim’s Mexico implemented a composting project from farms and hatcheries that reduced total waste by 42 percent.
In the U.S. and Puerto Rico, we increased our percentage of biodegradable and recyclable packaging material used by 1 percent; however, our total packaging material per ton of finished products including by-products increased by 4.8 percent. Despite this recent increase, since 2010, Pilgrim’s has reported total packaging used per ton of finished product (excluding by-products) and has achieved a nearly 20 percent reduction in comparison to 2018. We will continue to stay focused on increasing our recyclable packaging and will stay committed to reducing our packaging per ton of finished product produced.
The data below represents our best efforts at tracking waste and recycling at our facilities. In some cases, the local municipality collects all waste and recycling, which makes tracking the data impossible. We are currently working to develop collaborative partnerships in these locations, so we can share data to better track our performance.
Finally, nearly all organic solids, including wastewater sludge, are sent to land application or composting and used as beneficial soil amendments in place of synthetic fertilizer at local farms.