We follow a reduce, reuse, recycle and recover hierarchy in our operations.
We decreased our solid waste generation rate by 41 percent through 2014 against our target reduction rate of 50 percent by 2015 (2005 baseline).
We reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills by finding ways to recycle it or use it for other purposes. For example:
- Through our partnership with Hauling for Hope, we donate scrap metal from several company locations. This organization sorts and recycles the materials, which might otherwise go to landfill, and uses the proceeds to support programs for children with special needs. Since 2013, we have recycled nearly 40 metric tons of metal through this organization.
- In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, we installed a compactor in 2014 that enabled us to divert from landfill and recycle more than 10 metric tons of plastic-lined kraft bags during the first six months. At full utilization, we expect that recycled volume will increase to over 80 metric tons per year, reducing waste to landfill at the site by approximately 20 percent.
- In Mexico, our Old El Paso and Green Giant locations in Irapuato transform waste from tacos, tortillas, and fresh and frozen vegetables as well as cardboard into compost. During 2014, 427 metric tons of organic waste were composted and used as fertilizer in our greenhouses, up 19 percent from the prior year.
Recapturing value from waste has become a revenue source for General Mills, representing a record US$10 million of net revenue in 2014 for our North American operations.
Waste reduction worldwide
Worldwide, in 2014, five General Mills production facilities met our zero-waste-to-landfill criteria by reusing, composting or recycling at least 90 percent of all waste (the remainder is incinerated with energy recovery):
- Chanhassen, Minnesota, in the U.S.
- Midland, Ontario, in Canada
- Berwick in the U.K.
- Landes, LeMans, Seretram and Vienne in France
We reused or recycled 87 percent of our waste in North American operations, up from 85 percent in 2013.