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The cheese stands alone: Sonoco cheers packaging sustainability

Saputo Cheese USA has landed a bronze-level Sustainability Star Award from Sonoco Recycling. Photo: Kubly Design
Saputo Cheese USA has landed a bronze-level Sustainability Star Award from Sonoco Recycling. Photo: Kubly Design

The company’s Sonoco Recycling subsidiary has awarded its Sustainability Star Award to Saputo Cheese USA for best environmental practices.

Sonoco Recycling, one of the largest packaging recyclers in North America, recognized the California-based cheese producer with a bronze Sustainability Star Award. According to the company, the award was given due to Saputo Cheese USA’s achievement in diverting significant loads of waste from landfills.

Sustainability and safety

Clifton Young, plant manager of Saputo Cheese USA’s Tulare, California plant, told FoodProductionDaily the company places a high priority on safety and sustainability.

As one of the top 10 dairy processors in the world, it was important that we evaluate food safety and best practices around the new recycling program,” he said. “The team accomplished these goals through organized committees, JSAs, and employee and management interaction and training.

Overcoming obstacles

Sonoco Recycling president Rodger Fuller said the Saputo Cheese USA, in hitting the marks necessary to win such recognition, overcame a number of challenges along the way.

The Tulare facility team has consistently diverted more than 90% of their waste throughout 2014 while still maintaining food safety best practices,” he said.

The Sustainability Star Award program salutes customers and Sonoco facilities for achieving specific benchmarks in waste diversion and stream reduction. The program consists of three tiers—Gold Star Awards, for facilities hitting at least 99% diversion; Silver Star Awards, for facilities hitting 95%; and Bronze Star Awards, for facilities making progress in waste reduction.

Sonoco Recycling, with facilities around the world, reportedly collects more than 3m tons of packaging and industrial materials each year, including discarded corrugated containers, paper, metals, and plastics. The company operates six material recovery facilities, and it collects materials from households and commercial facilities in approximately 150 different communities.

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