Measure to Improve Guides Ippolito International and Taylor Farms to Lead Sustainability Efforts in Zero Waste
SALINAS, CA - When I think of summer, I think of all that's green: green grass, green leaves, and green produce companies! This week, Measure to Improve (MTI) announced Taylor Farms and Ippolito International are the first of ten companies that have made a waste reduction pledge to achieve Zero Waste certification. Since making this pledge, the two companies have developed zero-waste programs that have helped each achieve the highest levels of TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) certification through Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI).
“We want to congratulate Ippolito International and Taylor Farms, along with their respective Green Teams, for their persistence in reducing waste, finding alternative materials, and increasing recycling,” said Nikki Rodoni, Founder and CEO of Measure to Improve. “Achieving Zero Waste certification doesn’t happen overnight, more like a minimum of 12-18 months to earn certification, and now all the hard work has paid off!”
According to a press release, the Taylor Farms Gonzales-based facility, this week, became the first fresh food company to earn TRUE Platinum—the highest level of zero waste certification—thanks to the facility’s efforts to decrease landfill waste by 56 percent, which in effect also reduced greenhouse gas emission by 30,923 metric tons of carbon dioxide (equivalent to taking 6,510 cars off the road annually).
“This is just the beginning,” said Nicole Flewell, Taylor Farms’ Director of Sustainability. “We are striving for certification across all operations and are focused on enabling employees with the correct tools and training to help us meet this goal.”
Back in March, Ippolito International became the first producer in Monterey County to achieve TRUE certification after the company’s Value-Added Facility and Brussels Sprouts Packing Facility each achieved Gold certification. The two facilities had recycled 590 tons of cardboard and plastic and diverted over 10,000 tons of organic bi-product through animal feed and composting, for a combined diversion rate of nearly 94 percent, according to a press release.
“Going for Gold wasn’t easy. It requires a culture change, commitment from leadership, and participation from the employees,” said Ippolito Partner Ron Mondo. “It was worth it; we’ve reduced our environmental impact and found ways to cut costs at the same time.”
And despite hitting these achievements, both Taylor Farms and Ippolito will expand their zero-waste programs. Specifically, Ippolito will implement its zero-waste program to its new packing shed and harvest operations, with MTI supporting the company through this process, while Taylor Farms will be launching another zero-waste program as part of its Greener Fields Together Waste Reduction pledge with PRO*ACT. MTI also partners with the PRO*ACT Greener Field Together team to encourage and educate producers and processors on how to measure landfill waste diversion and improve natural resource efficiency.
“Measure to Improve’s efforts to assist local agricultural companies in achieving ambitious zero-waste certifications directly supports Salinas Valley Recycles’ mission to keep valuable resources out of the landfill,” said Salinas Valley Recycles’ Resource Recovery Manager Mandy Brooks. “MTI’s partnership has been instrumental in our agency’s efforts to implement a robust food waste composting program in Salinas and achieve the levels of diversion and greenhouse gas emission reductions required by various state mandates.”
Zero-waste programs track and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and aim for a 90 percent or better diversion rate over 12 consecutive months. The TRUE Zero Waste certification system enables facilities to define, pursue, and achieve zero-waste goals, reduce companies’ carbon footprint, all while supporting companies’ endeavors to become more resource and financially efficient, as a means to support public health, the community, and the companies themselves.
“The innovation bar has been raised,” said Henry S. Gonzales, Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and Measures. “I am confident other value-added fresh food processors will see the environmental and bottom-line benefits of defining, pursuing, and achieving TRUE Zero Waste certification.”
For more information about TRUE Zero Waste certification, visit http://true.gbci.org/.
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