Grimmway: Waste Management at the Cal-Organic Facility in Lamont, CA

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As part of its commitment to creating a balance between social, environmental, and economic gains, Grimmway Farms employed a Zero Waste strategy in 2011 at its Cal-Organic facility in Lamont, California.

5Ps Verified Case Study: Waste Management
As part of its commitment to creating a balance between social, environmental, and economic gains, Grimmway Farms employed a Zero Waste strategy in 2011 at its Cal-Organic facility in Lamont, California. SureHarvest has documented and verified Grimmway’s waste reduction efforts at the Cal-Organic facility using the 5Ps of Sustainability™.

Sustainability Highlights
Grimmway innovates and adopts sustainable practices as part of its core strategy to remain  competitive in an ever-changing marketplace. The company is currently establishing and maintaining its formal process for continuous improvement in waste management at the Cal-Organic facility. 

The Zero Waste strategy includes reducing, reusing and recycling materials used in production at the facility. Applying the Zero Waste strategy, Cal-Organic expects to prevent, reduce, or recycle 80% of its landfill waste, reducing the impact on the environment and saving money.

1. Sustainability Principles
Grimmway Farms is dedicated to:

  • Creating a balance between social, environmental, and economic gains
  • Maintaining and growing its existence as a steward of the land
  • Garnering growing techniques that optimize crop yields and quality, while minimizing water and energy use 

For more than 30 years, Grimmway Farms’ organic division has been dedicated to organic farming and maintaining a balance with nature.

2. Sustainability Processes
Grimmway Farms is committed to reducing the amount of waste destined for the landfill as demonstrated by its Zero Waste project. Developed in 2011, this initiative was based on the value that waste management is good for the community, the environment, and the company’s bottom line. The Zero Waste initiative will enable the Cal-Organic facility to divert the majority of its waste, formerly destined for the landfill, by reducing, reusing, and recycling the materials used in production.

3. Sustainability Practices
The key elements of the Cal-Organic Zero Waste program include: 

  • New stretch wrap which uses less plastic and eliminates cardboard corner boards 
  • Reusable/exchange pallet program
  • Recycling scrap metal, carbon steel, cardboard, plastics, and hairnets
  • Feeding culls and processing waste to cattle
  • Recycling waxed cartons
  • Composting employee food waste
  • Switching to durable reusable cups in the break room

Waste is segregated into clearly labeled pick-up receptacles, and care has been taken to find local companies that provide unique opportunities to recycle and reuse the waste. The waxed cartons are recycled by a company to make fire logs. Cosmetically defective product (culls) and organic waste from processing are fed to cattle. 

To handle the recyclable items, Grimmway Farms utilizes a community nonprofit that provides essential job training, employment, and support services for the intellectually and developmentally challenged and their families.

4. Sustainability Performance Metrics
Grimmway Farms understands that to properly manage waste, it is essential to measure its different waste streams at the Cal-Organic facility. Grimmway Farms is able to track the various channels of waste through vendor records. In June 2011, a baseline was established by collecting and recording the data of each waste channel, thus enabling Grimmway Farms to track and evaluate its progress. The company is committed to evaluating the Zero Waste program on a biannual basis to track progress and identify further opportunities for improvement. Its first biannual report is expected at the close of 2013.

5. Sustainability Progress
As Grimmway has grown over the past 45 years, the company has maintained its business model of encouraging innovation and autonomy across different divisions. The Cal-Organic Zero Waste program will serve as a trial for the entire Grimmway Farms operation. The program may be duplicated or modified as needed for successful adoption at the other Grimmway facilities. Grimmway managers meet to evaluate operational needs and accomplishments, and prioritize new projects or initiatives. Employee ideas and feedback are integrated into these meetings. The Grimmway Board of Directors and executive managers analyze market and industry trends, as well as evaluate the company’s performance in relation to its goals and overall business strategy. Employee ideas and feedback are gathered through ongoing meetings and communications throughout the company, and then integrated into the executive meetings.

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