GR Fresh's Montserrat Segura and Christian Monterrubio Discuss Recycling Partnership
MCALLEN, TX - Our industry has one of the closest relationships with Mother Nature, and like any doting mother she shows favor to those who treat her well. GR Fresh is doing this and more, giving back not just into her soil, but into the communities it is a member of, solidifying this relationship through an active recycling and regenerative compost program.
“GR Fresh, having organic matter and knowing the benefits and importance that has for the environment, decided to join the recycling culture by approaching the McAllen Composting Facility and its recycling center, creating the Contributing to the Planet project for the manufacture of compost,” Montserrat Segura, Chief Quality Officer, recently shared with me.
She explained that adding nutrients and organic matter back into the soil is good for GR Fresh, but the initiative also benefits the country's agriculture as a whole by reducing dependence on synthetic fertilizers. Physical results cut methane from landfills and save water by increasing the soil’s capacity to hold more hydration, but just as lasting is the culture of stewardship among employees that GR Fresh has created through its thorough training program.
“GR Fresh trained all its staff on the different types of recycling and their processes, as well as the reasons why this topic is so important,” Montserrat said. “In our facilities, there are different types of containers and special cans, in which organic material is separated from inorganic material.”
And with the support of the McAllen Composting Center, GR Fresh is able to exercise a near-limitless ability to recycle and reuse. As for anything outside organic, compostable material, the Compost Center collects it for manufacturing alternative products.
The remaking of used materials into new goods opened up yet another facet of good to come out of the program. GR Fresh, constantly serving both sides of the U.S./Mexico border, is a member of a complex channel of communities, many of them underserved. To give back to those networks it is deeply rooted in, the company’s program donates compost material to park services, hospitals, schools, and communities with low economic resources.
“This is important in that it helps the community both physically and economically, as what is donated can be resold by low-income communities for needed funds,” Montserrat shares.
Her passion and appreciation for all the program manages to accomplish is tangible and contagious, and she is quick to point out those who make it all happen, among them GR Fresh Assistant Operations Christian Monterrubio.
“I had the opportunity of working at the McAllen recycling center for a few months, and there I learned a lot about the importance of recycling and the great impact it has on our planet,” Christian shared with me. “When I came to GR, I saw the great culture this company has and they, knowing that I came from a recycling background, decided to include me on their recycling project that was still in process at the time.”
While Christian said it was quite a challenge to execute, especially in helping personnel shift their mindset and implement several new processes into daily operations, he shared how happy he is to have contributed.
“It makes me very proud when I see the statistics of our donations to the compost facility and how we have had an impact in our community through them,” Christian concluded.
Just two years in, this project has accomplished over 1,223 tons donated for composting.
“We are very proud of this, and are excited of what more we will see as GR Fresh will continue to be committed to the community, the environment, and the planet,” Montserrat concluded. “This project would not have been possible without the collaboration of those at Mcallen Composting Facility’s Roberto Treviño, Renewable Resources Manager, Liza Valdez, Composting Supervisor, and Jose Luis Gonzalez, Crew Leader, to whom we are so grateful for all the support given to make possible the continuity of this project.”
Our industry truly is the steward of the land, more aware than most of our dependence on Mother Nature—and hers on us. As companies like GR Fresh continue to set an example for how to uphold such responsibility, AndNowUKnow will seek out the stories that tie together all the points that make up fresh produce.