The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council has certified two of Nature's Path facilities at the gold level for zero waste, the company and the organization announced Thursday.
The certified facilities are in Blaine, Washington, and Delta, British Columbia, Canada. Nature's Path is the first cereal company in North America to be certified by the council.
To achieve gold-level status, a facility must earn between 46 and 63 points on an 80-point scale that measures programs such as reduce, reuse, compost, purchasing, training, leadership and more, according to a Raytheon slideshow, "Using Resource Management to Achieve Zero Waste." The only higher level is platinum.
“We live by the mantra, ‘Leave the Earth better than you found it,’ and feel we owe it to future generations to be good stewards of the land and adhere to our triple bottom line,” said Jyoti Stephens, senior director of human resources and sustainability for Nature’s Path. “We strive to be as environmentally sustainable as possible in everything we do and being Zero Waste is an important initiative for us. After all, at Nature’s Path we love to make delicious, organic breakfast and snacks, not waste.”
Beyond making sense from an environmental standpoint, Zero Waste programs make business sense as well: The company estimates annual savings of $288,000 at the Washington facility and $56,000 at the British Columbia facility. In addition, diverting waste from landfills supports local green businesses such as recycling companies.
Nature’s Path’s Blaine and Delta facilities currently divert 95 percent of waste from landfills, for a combined total of 2,875 U.S. tons each year, equivalent to 1,643 midsize cars or 14 blue whales, surpassing the criteria of diverting 90 percent. The company conducts independent, third-party waste audits every two years.
The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council defines zero waste as “designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.”
“Nature’s Path is a leader in creating a zero-waste economy for all. We were very impressed with what they have accomplished and their ongoing direction; the company is clearly committed to the goal of zero waste as part of their overall sustainability initiatives,” said Stephanie Barger, founder and executive director of U.S. Zero Waste Business Council. “We enjoyed seeing how simple the process and ingredients are, and how comprehensive Nature’s Path programs have become. The company has clearly created value through Zero Waste in their operation.”
For its certification process, the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council provides a third-party evaluation of policies, processes and programs related to zero waste and validates the information through documentation review and a site visit. A third Nature’s Path plant, in Sussex, Wisconsin, is on track to be certified by the end of this year.