Recycling at Field Fresh Foods

Three times a day, Ricardo Carbajal makes his rounds between our Field Fresh Foods plant near Gardena, CA, and livestock farms an hour east of downtown Los Angeles. At the wheel of our roll-off dump truck, Ricardo delivers 80,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetable trimmings daily to local dairy farms where the tasty scraps are fed to the animals, providing a valuable service for the farm owners and our own company.

Food waste is a fact of life among food producers. For commodities like fresh-cut lettuce, onions
and apples, trimming the outer leaves, peels, and cores from the raw product is chalked up as yield-loss after processing, leaving a business owner with the task of disposing the raw left-overs. It’s just not as easy as filling the green trash bin and wheeling it out to the curb once a week.

Such waste, though, need not be a problem for food processors. In fact, for us, it is an opportunity, one with obvious environmental, not to mention financial, benefits.

Disposal fees for some half-million pounds of food waste in a local landfill would come at the
hefty price. Diverting our waste away from landfills generates savings which help to sustain our environmental initiatives as well as our core business.

Our diversion initiatives are not limited to food waste, however. They are prevalent across our

Cardboard packaging used to transport tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and other produce from
farm to plant are recycled. In many instances, produce arrives in special boxes containing wax coatings which are used to keep them sturdy during transport. The linings are removed and used later in the production of faux fireplace logs.

We also recycle more than one million gallons of fresh water a day to rinse our locally grown produce using a proprietary water filtration system which helps us conserve precious water and saves us thousands of dollars each month.

We’ve been in business 22 years and today we are a 99.9 percent landfill-free enterprise. Good news for our company. Good news for the environment. Good news for the cows in Chino.

— Emelio Castañeda