Decades before recycling became a common practice, our founder Milton Hershey established the company’s first recycling center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, to recycle manufacturing waste. In recent decades we have continued this tradition, finding new ways to reuse material and reduce overall waste.
We have committed to a broad range of goals in an effort to reduce our environmental impact. Hershey pledges to:
Hershey’s efforts to operate at Zero-Waste-to-Landfill status (ZWL) grew out of our own employee culture. Nobody 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. This effort was so successful that now 6 manufacturing plants and 5 other facilities have achieved ZWL status.
Reducing the weight of each wrapper by 0.05 grams doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up to 271,800 pounds – or enough weight to fill 11 tractor-trailers, save 1,957 trees, reduce aluminum use and save enough electricity to power 56 homes – per year. And that’s just one of our 26 packaging waste initiatives that reduced waste by 1.75 million pounds in 2014. Our target is to reduce waste by 16 million pounds through 2017. With product packaging now more than 80 percent recyclable, we’re well on our way.
We began our water-conservation pilot project in 2012, and have continued to invest in water-efficiency measures throughout our manufacturing operations. Projects started in 2014 are expected to save more than 20 million gallons of water through state-of-the-art technology that will produce cleaner water at the end of manufacturing. New desalination systems will not only clean water more efficiently, but will help us recover 13 million gallons of well water per year. All of us at Hershey continue to explore how to be more efficient with this key resource.
We’re working to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in our manufacturing facilities and in our 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. Since moving chocolate manufacturing to our expanded facility on the other side of Hershey, Pennsylvania, we refurbished the old factory building as a Gold LEED Certified office building. The gorgeous open design of this environmentally friendly building is accented with old factory artifacts, and is now home to thousands of Hershey employees. And we employ green building practices like these in our buildings around the world.
Read more about our commitment to prevent deforestation in our Responsible Sourcing section.