It is important to our Company to reduce our waste and to increase our ability to reduce, compost, recycle and reuse materials.
Our processing plant recycled 73% of the waste it generated in 2017. This included cardboard, office paper, wood pallets, plastics from our gallon milk jugs and barrels, and plastic wrap. The goal we set in 2012 was to increase our plant recycling rate to be 75% by the end of 2017, and we nearly reached that goal. We continue to research ways to further increase recycling at our plant.
The majority of our milk is packaged in half gallon cartons made from Forest Stewardship Council Controlled Wood certified paperboard, and has a polyethylene coating. In 2017, the Carton Council announced that 60% of U.S. households now have access to milk carton recycling.
Visit www.recyclecartons.com for more information.
The remainder of our milk is bottled in polyethylene (HDPE) gallon jugs that can be recycled where No. 2 plastics are accepted. Almost all households in the U.S. have access to No. 2 recycling centers, either through curbside pickup or by dropping off at a community recycling center. Our secondary packaging is corrugated cardboard, the majority of which is recycled by the retail locations that sell our milk.
Our farms produce waste streams from packaging, paper and discarded materials used at our facilities, including corrugated boxes, nitrile gloves, filter socks, medical supplies, bottles, twine, silage plastic, silicone milking inflations and wood pallets. Our larger dairies have reduced their need for disposable dairy wipes by switching to reusable, washable microfiber wipes, which diverted approximately 70 tons of waste from landfills annually.
Because they are in rural locations, most of our farms do not have municipal recycling programs available. As a result, we have made little progress toward our 2017 goal to divert 25% of our farm landfill waste. After significant research, we have learned that considerable human resources and funding would be required to accomplish a meaningful level of recycling at our farms. We continue to explore solutions to reduce, reuse and recycle materials at our farms.