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. Pilgrim’s Moy Park team continued to maintain its commitment of zero waste to landfill across all facilities. The majority of Pilgrim’s UK facilities maintained a commitment of zero waste to landfill in 2020 and all Pilgrim’s UK facilities will have this commitment in 2021.
In Europe, Moy Park was the first poultry company to undertake a commitment to reduce packaging and food waste in its value chain. The initiative is part of an ambitious campaign to combat the use of plastics and packaging in its business and in the industry. The company plans to lower its global use of packaging by 5% each year, while simultaneously raising the percentage of recyclable packages by 5%. Both Moy Park and Pilgrim’s UK have adopted the strategy of “Remove, Reduce, Recycle and Research” and will begin using 100% recyclable rigid packaging by 2022. All other packaging will be widely recyclable by 2025.
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. 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.
The meat processing industry is incredibly efficient from a food waste prevention standpoint. We process byproducts, such as blood, feathers and bones, to create saleable materials and reduce waste. Nearly 100% of inedible byproducts are rendered to produce tallow and feather and bone meal, which we then sell to other companies to be used in goods, such as in livestock or poultry feed. Pilgrim’s UK has commitments to both the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 and to Courtauld Commitment which are both working towards halving food waste by 2030. Currently only 0.1% of Pilgrim’s UK’s production is classified as food waste. Actions employed to reduce this number even further include using the Waste Hierarchy to derive as much value as possible from all product and donating approximately 90,000 meals equivalents in 2019 to food redistribution charities to prevent food waste.
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
We have continued to focus on improving data quality related to waste and packaging, as a result we are tracking more indicators and are able to better understand and monitor our waste streams. Improved data quality also leads to more complete measurements which are higher than partially complete past data. As a global company, from 2019 to 2020, total waste generated decreased 30%, waste sent to landfills decreased 28%, and waste to landfill per ton of finished product decreased 28%. As a highlight, Pilgrim’s UK has a majority of their facilities which maintain a commitment of zero waste to landfill, and our Pilgrim’s Moy Park team continued to maintain its commitment of zero waste to landfill across all facilities in 2020.
In the U.S. and Puerto Rico, approximately 74% of our packaging used is biodegradable and recyclable packaging material; and our total packaging material per ton of finished products including by-products decreased 1% in 2020. 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.