General Mills, a flour manufacturing facility located in the East River Bottoms Area with 150 employees, has been institutionalizing solid waste reduction into its operations for the past 10 years. In that timeframe, the facility has reduced the amount of waste it sends to the landfill by more than 70%, resulting in an average reduction of 100 tons per month. Landfill wastes are now only 33% of total waste generated at the facility – compared to 93% from 10 years ago.
General Mills has found creative opportunities for reuse – flat sheets of cardboard known as “slip sheets” are collected and donated to a non-profit local food bank for palletizing of products it collects. Byproduct spills that occur during the wheat-to-flour conversion process at the facility are now composted instead of landfilled, and the facility recently began a new partnership with another General Mills plant in Carlisle, Iowa – the Iowa plant bundles waste corrugated totes, ships them on trailers already destined to a distribution center in Kansas City, and the Kansas City plant reuses them for recyclable and reusable material collection programs, creating a win-win for both facilities.
General Mills received the Silver Award for Recycling/Reuse at the 2015 Kansas City Industrial Council’s Sustainability Awards Breakfast.