Decades before recycling common practice, our founder, Milton Hershey established the company’s first recycling center in Hershey, Pennsylvania for manufacturing waste. We have continued this tradition, finding new ways to reuse material and reduce overall waste.
We have committed to a broad range of goals to reduce our environmental impact. Hershey pledges to:
Hershey’s efforts to operate at Zero-Waste-to-Landfill status (ZWL) grew out of our employee culture. No one wanted useful material to end up in a landfill, so we put our collective minds to the task, creating new ways to reduce waste and recycle. As of the end of 2016, Hershey has 11 zero-waste-to-landfill (ZWL) facilities, including 10 in the United States and one in Mexico.
Looking ahead, our approach to waste management and reduction will evolve from ZWL to ZW (zero-waste), so we are focusing on ways to not produce waste in the first place. This will further minimize our environmental footprintby eliminating the need to transport waste to landfills or waste-to-energy processing facilities. For nearly a decade, we have also focused on improving Hershey’s recycling rate. Today, our plants consistently exceed an 85% recycling rate.
From packaging engineers to graphic designers, we strive to avoid redundancies, use sustainable materials, and minimize expendable printing and the use of ink. In recent years, we have reduced packaging waste by nearly 10 million pounds, putting us well on our way toward our goal of reducing 25 million pounds of material by 2025.
Today, we are introducing “retail ready” packaging. This packaging-innovation allowed us to use much less corrugated cardboard while also eliminating millions of pounds of material from the manufacturing process and, in turn, recycling centers.
We also survey our key packaging suppliers on metrics such as GHG emissions, water use, transportation and the use of virgin versus recycled fiber. We will use this information to measure progress and make sourcing decisions.
We continue to explore how to be more efficient with water. This is a crucial resource at our manufacturing facilities, as well as in the communities where we live and do business. While most of our products are not particularly water-intensive, our operations require an abundant supply of high-quality water to ensure all aspects of our production meet our own high standards and comply with the safety standards set by the Global Food Safety Initiative. We have expanded the number of facilities included in this objective and begun working on more ways to monitor water and energy use. We are sharing best practices among facilities as we work to achieve our goal of reducing total water use by 2025.
As we work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our manufacturing facilities and transportation network, we’re investing in projects such as lighting systems and new machinery that use less energy and reduce our environmental footprint.
Greener building practices and technologies enable us to create a positive impact through our buildings, and the simplest way to reduce GHG emissions is to reduce our energy use. This is why we conduct energy conservation audits, education programs and other efforts to identify energy efficiency opportunities and cut the amount of energy used.
Since moving chocolate manufacturing to our expanded facility in Hershey, Pennsylvania, we refurbished the old factory building as a Gold LEED Certified office building. The open design of this environmentally-friendly building is accented with old factory artifacts, and is now home to thousands of Hershey employees. We employ green building practices like these in our buildings around the world.
We have also implemented initiatives to cut fuel use and truck hauls in our transportation programs and to maximize the loading of truck containers, which also reduces the number of trips that vehicles must make. And we continue to evaluate the use of alternative fuels.
We are deeply committed to end deforestation, whether it’s how we source our ingredients for our products or how we source pulp and paper products in our operations. Read more about our commitment to prevent deforestation in the Responsible Sourcing section.