Cargill’s Hazleton meat processing facility is declared landfill-free

Posted: 14 April 2015 | Victoria White | No comments yet

Cargill’s Hazleton meat processing facility has been verified by NSF International as the Company’s first landfill-free facility…

Cargill’s Hazleton meat processing facility has been verified as the Company’s first landfill-free facility.


The 225,000-square-foot plant employs 600 people and produces more than 10 million pounds of beef, pork and ground meat products monthly. While NSF International verifies that less than one percent of the plant’s waste goes to landfills, Cargill’s team at Hazleton has gone the remaining distance to completely eliminate all landfill waste. On 29 March 2015, NSF International verified the facility’s landfill-free status after a detailed review of documentation and a three-day on-site audit.

Although some materials were already being recycled, in 2012 Cargill’s Hazleton plant sent tonnes of waste to local landfills, including plastic, bio-solids, paper and other materials. In mid-2013, employees at the facility began a stepped up recycling effort and within five months reduced the amount of waste materials going to landfills was reduced substantially, while saving the company $30,000.

“Having successfully taken the first step, the Hazleton team decided to strive for something that had never been accomplished at Cargill, while pushing the envelope to better align with our global corporate focus on sustainable food production,” explained Aaron Humes, the plant’s general manager. “We weren’t certain we could go all the way to landfill-free status, but we were confident that we could significantly improve our sustainability footprint. The team here swung for the fences and hit a grand slam home run. Everyone at Hazleton is proud to be part of this achievement.” 

Hazleton facility will undergo annual reassessment audits to verify it is still landfill-free

In 2013 the plant partnered with a local company that helped improve the facility’s recycling program. Within five months, 20 percent less waste was going to landfills.  

That success invigorated Cargill’s Hazleton team and they set their sights higher for 2014 – becoming verified landfill free. In May 2014, they set the wheels in motion to achieve that goal. People and funds were allocated and partners found they could recycle plastic, bio-solids and other materials. Unrecyclable plastic is used to produce energy and food waste is rendered into other products. Oil is repurposed for use as lubricants. 

By early 2015, the Hazleton facility had found non-landfill homes for all of its waste, making it the first Cargill facility in the world to achieve verified landfill-free status. As an ongoing requirement for verification, the Hazleton facility will undergo annual reassessment audits. 

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