Some take their coffee black, but at Farmer Bros. Co. takes their coffee green – thanks to an expanded recycling and waste diversion program that will help reduce landfill-bound waste to zero by the year 2015. Following the SEED (social, environmental, and economic development) model, Farmer Bros. is investing resources, taking the time to look closely at operations, discovering ways to increase recycling, repurposing, and composting, and minimizing the environmental impact of its coffees, teas, and spices.
From an environmental perspective, Farmer Bros. has focused on diverting recyclable and compostable waste away from landfills in order to prolong the lifecycle of plastics and other byproducts and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The social aspect is about people: removing landfill waste from communities and creating a company culture that attracts and retains socially conscious talent. To make all this work they've also looked at the economic benefits of creating additional revenue streams from former landfill products and reducing fuel and tipping-related costs from landfill hauling.
The goal is to have zero waste bound for landfills by the end of 2015 through smart practices and innovation, and the company has been working with its partners to identify opportunities. "Farmer Brothers is genuinely committed to waste reduction. Throughout their processes, they are actively working to increase recycling, composting and looking for new opportunities to reduce waste. Waste Management is proud to be partnering with Farmer Brothers and we look forward to continued success and helping them reach zero waste," says Trevor Kitchen, major account manager for waste management.
The drive to reduce waste has been led by recycling the byproduct packaging waste from packaging machines, removing an estimated 1,500,000 lb of packaging waste from landfills each year. They are also repurposing the fiber bags used for shipping green coffee. They can be used as weed control in reclamation projects, tools for local farmers harvesting fruits and vegetables, bag-and-burlap for tree plantings, and much more. Farmer Brothers uses more than 50,000,000 fiber bags each year, and where most of these were once bound for landfills, today there's a waiting list for organizations eager to extend the useful life of these bags. Another success has been taking at least 15,000 lb per month of chaff at the Portland facility left over from coffee processing and selling this material to companies producing natural fertilizers. These and many more innovations are what have put Farmer Bros. on the road to zero landfill-bound waste by the 2015 goal.