Sustaining Our World – 2017 Sustainability Report
close

Reducing Waste and
Conserving Natural Resources

Reducing waste is good for our business and the environment.

Waste reduction allows us to streamline costs and send as few materials to landfills as possible. Our environmental management experts are continuously exploring innovations in packaging and waste diversion to reduce operational waste output, increase our recycling metrics and reuse waste to add value to products or create new sources of energy.

We conduct regular plant surveys and waste stream evaluations to identify opportunities for improvement. We are currently establishing an enterprise-wide system to better understand our waste footprint and plan to set targets beyond year-over-year improvements on waste reduction in FY2019. These new targets will define zero waste for our company and a structure for quarterly reporting and accountability.

Packaging

Our packaging strategy aligns with the five “Rs” — Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Renew — and is guided by the recommended packaging metrics and definitions set forth by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and the Global Packaging Project. Without compromising quality or product protection, our packaging design process prioritizes increasing the use of recyclable and renewable materials, as well as minimizing packaging where possible. We stay abreast of innovations in packaging technology and ways to source renewable packaging materials.

The packaging innovation labs and pilot plants at our Discovery Centers in Springdale, Arkansas, and Downers Grove, Illinois, allow us to be very effective at implementing sustainable packaging solutions. The two facilities enable engineers to conduct extensive testing to optimize final package design and performance. In addition, we leverage the packaging testing capabilities of our strategic packaging suppliers to evaluate new and improved packaging materials and technologies.

Our corrugated boxes are produced from100% Renewable Material, contain 30% Post-Consumer
Recyclable Packaging and are Sustainable Forestry Initiative®
(SFI) program-certified.

Packaging Audits Result in FY2017 Improvements

Our strategic packaging suppliers conduct audits at our production locations to identify potential areas for making our packaging more sustainable.

Through these efforts, more than 8 million pounds of fiber was reduced from corrugated boxes and paperboard cartons.*

* Packaging reductions highlighted above occurred at varying times during FY2017 and total reductions and savings noted assume current product volumes.

Waste Generation FY2015 FY2016 FY2017
Waste Generated (million pounds) 2,901.62 2,804.02 2,979.91
Waste to Landfill (million pounds) 274.30 287.06 333.93
Waste Diverted from Landfill (million pounds) 2,627.32 2,516.97 2,645.98
Recycle Rate 91% 90% 89%
Landfill Waste Intensity (pounds landfilled to produce 100 pounds of finished product) 0.91 0.94 1.08

This footprint includes data from our U.S.-based operations. Information from our U.S.-based Cobb-Vantress, The Pork Group or hog buying stations are not included in this footprint. FY2015 data is based on a 53-week fiscal year. FY2016 and FY2017 are based on a 52-week fiscal year

Food Waste Reduction

We are committed to seeking out opportunities to eliminate or minimize food waste in our direct operations and supply chain. At numerous touch-points within our direct operations, we have established food waste diversion measures. For example:

  • In our animal processing operations, virtually nothing is wasted and every part of the animal is used. Not only do we harvest the meat for use in our products, but we use the majority of animal by-products such as hides, skins, bones and blood, to create saleable materials like animal feed, biofuels and fertilizer. We also repurpose by-products for items such as cosmetics, leather, fertilizer and pharmaceutical ingredients.
  • During the packaging process, we optimize packaging to keep food fresh through its intended use-by date and use state-of-the-art food safety techniques that protect shelf life.
  • In our distribution centers, we optimize pallet load for the most efficient weight and cube utilization in a truck, and we use a world-class inventory and distribution system to keep our food safe and fresh.
  • At the point of sale, we offer our consumers portion-controlled options to reduce waste and label guidance on preparation, cooking, storage, sell-by and best-if-used-by dates.

Through our new venture capital fund, Tyson New Ventures, and our Innovation Lab, we are investing in companies and pilot projects that are innovating new ways to address food waste across our industry. Last year we donated more than 9 million pounds of protein to food banks across the country. Read more about our food waste investments and donations in the Food section of this report.