Land O’Lakes, Inc. has been in operation for more than 95 years making everything from butter to milk to food for animals, doing business in all 50 states and in more than 60 countries. What began as a group of farmers coming together in Minnesota and Wisconsin to market and distribute members’ dairy products, grew into an organization with almost 4,000 members including dairy producers, agriculture producers and co-op members, plus more than 10,000 employees. With a mission to preserve and use land more effectively, Land O’Lakes has a distinguished reputation for being a good corporate citizen. But simply being good wasn’t good enough for Land O’Lakes. They wanted to do more.
This desire to do more was a key motivator for Josh Becking, EH&S Manager at the Land O’ Lakes Dairy Foods plant in Kent, Ohio, who recalls: “When I first joined Land O’Lakes in 2012, with the exception of cardboard, most all other waste from this facility was sent to the landfill.”
The Dairy Foods division is one of the most recognizable divisions of Land O’Lakes, producing cheese and butter in all forms from the pats used in restaurants, the stick or tubs sold in grocery stores and the large blocks used by the food industry.
Becking and his colleagues in Kent made some initial progress by recycling paper and plastics discarded in the facility’s breakrooms. However, to make the meaningful inroads necessary to further reduce waste, they knew they needed a sound and reliable collaborator.
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