Minimizing our impact on the environment.
As a grower-owned cooperative, we rely on the environment for our livelihoods. So it makes sense for us to want to minimize our environmental impact by, applying sustainable practices to everything we do.
Not only do we intend to meet or exceed existing environmental regulations, we are also continually refining plans to reduce packaging, ingredient, and product waste and therefore prevent and reduce pollution at its source. And we are working to address water, air, solid waste and hazardous material environmental issues throughout our operations, every day.
What We Are Doing Today
Here are A few of the many things we are doing right now to reduce our environmental footprint:
- We use every part of every apple. The peels and cores left over from apple sauce and slice production go to cider mills for juice pressing. Apple pomace, the pressed apple material from juice production, ends up as cattle feed.
- We send leaves and floor waste back to the orchards where it’s returned to the soil.
- We operate recycling programs at all of our facilities. We recycle a wide range of glass, plastic, metal and paper products. We also recycle fluorescent light tubes, fluorescent ballasts, fluorescent U-lamps, mercury devices, batteries and computer components at all processing plants.
- We emphasize water conservation at all our facilities. In 2008 we were awarded the Adams County, Pennsylvania Environmental Stewardship Award and a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for conserving 60,000 gallons of water per day by modifying our cherry processing procedures.
- We are able to use recycled motor oil to power our steam production boilers at our Pennsylvania facilities. This provides a beneficial use for recycled oil that’s the equivalent of over 2.4 million passenger vehicle oil changes a year.
- We use 250,000 repairable wood apple bins and 32,000 recyclable plastic apple bins.
- The Lucky Leaf and Musselman trucking fleets use soybean-based bio-diesel fuel. We also use bio-diesel fuel for plant equipment at our Peach Glen, Pennsylvania facility.
- We capture the waste water from our four Adams County, Pennsylvania fruit processing operations and irrigate it upon permitted sites in the same watersheds we operate in. Based on a five year average, Knouse Foods returns 160 million gallons per year to the regional hydrologic cycle in this manner.
- We redesigned our packaging to reduce waste, and in some cases have eliminated wasteful packaging lines completely.
- We are using more recycled content in our plastic containers.
- We have reduced the amount of corrugated cardboard in our shipping cartons.
- We have eliminated the plastic pallet wrapping on several production lines through the use of mastic carton spray.
- We have eliminated the use of a bi-metal 5.5 oz. can for apple juice and replaced it with all aluminum.
What We Will Do Next
Here’s how we plan to be more sustainable this year and in the future:
- We ask each of our growers to use a minimum amount of pesticide and herbicide, and submit spray records so we can
monitor our progress.
- Each of our growers will submit their own conservation plan, developed in cooperation with the local office of the federal Natural Resource Conservation Service and/or County Conservation District where they operate.
- Each of our growers will develop ‘on site emergency plans’ that document locations of chemical and fuel storage for the protection and safety of the local community and environment.
- Each of our factories will complete at least one lighting improvement project a year which reduces energy and saves costs.
- Each of our processing plants will complete at least one steam pipe insulation project a year to improve steam quality
and energy efficiency.
- Each of our processing plants will develop waterless dumping and conveying options to support our conservation efforts.
- Whenever we must replace one of our motors, it will be replaced with a high efficiency motor.
- We will continue to reduce the amount of corrugated cardboard in our cartons.
- We are studying the replacement of several of our metal cans with plastic options, which will reduce weight and translate into transport vehicle fuel and emissions savings.