Pacific Natural Foods Recognized by Association of Oregon Recyclers for Sustainability Efforts

Pacific Natural Foods has received the Association of Oregon Recyclers' (AOR) 2012 Leadership in Sustainable Practices Award. Not given annually, the award is reserved to celebrate organizations that find solutions to materials management issues and far exceed sustainability performance of similar establishments.

Fueled by the discovery that 95 percent of its landfill waste was comprised of food contaminated packaging, Pacific designed and constructed a custom solution that cleans, crushes and prepares discarded used packaging for recycling. The process took several years and cost more than $100,000.

"Pacific's perseverance, innovation and leadership in developing a solution to the problem of waste product and packaging is inspiring," said David Allaway of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, who nominated the company. Jesse Engum, chair of the AOR awards committee, added, "They didn't stop at food donations and recycling. Pacific is continually looking for ways to improve, and we hope other organizations learn from their example."

The Carton Council, a group of carton manufacturers united to deliver collaborative solutions to divert cartons from landfills, is now touting the equipment as a best practice, and will be looking to share and replicate the system at facilities across North America.

AOR was also impressed by Pacific's sustained efforts to make the best use of food waste -- supporting people of the community through donations, creating high protein feed for animals, and generating soil amendments to improve agriculture through composting. The cost benefits of this, along with its robust recycling program, have allowed the company to employ three full-time recycling specialists to help further innovate sustainable solutions for the industry.

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