Monsanto Hawaii announced that its Upper Kunia Farm has achieved Zero Waste Certification – Gold level from Green Business Certification Inc. The first business in Hawaii to earn the certification, Monsanto’s Upper Kunia Farm has been focused on increasing yields while using fewer resources, and has successfully diverted 98 percent of its waste from landfills, incineration and the environment.
“What makes the zero waste initiative so unique is that it aims to eliminate waste by reinvesting resources locally, a direct benefit to our community and the environment,” said Thijs Peekstok, operations and sustainability lead for Monsanto Hawaii. “All Monsanto Hawaii farms on Oahu, Maui and Molokai currently have a waste management program on-site and are all working towards attaining the certification.”
Utilizing a closed-loop approach, Monsanto’s Upper Kunia Farm implemented effective waste management programs that include recycling, composting, reusing and repairing products to ensure that all universal waste is returned to society as a positive resource. Monsanto has also implemented sustainable purchasing policies and incentives to encourage employee participation.
Monsanto’s Upper Kunia Farm began the process to become a Zero Waste Certified facility in 2015. The Zero Waste Certification is based on the peer-reviewed, internationally accepted definition of Zero Waste developed by the Zero Waste International Alliance. The goal for businesses participating in the certification program is to divert all end-use material from the landfill, incineration and the environment, while achieving a minimum of 90 percent diversion. Some of Monsanto’s recent accomplishments at its Upper Kunia Farm include:
• Reduced water usage by 16 percent;
• Reduced diesel fuel usage by 41 percent;
• Recycled 4,000 pounds of tires;
• Recycled 6,600 pounds of drip tape;
• Increased usage of drip irrigation to deliver water directly to the plant root zone, reducing the amount of fertilizer needed;
• Reuse of tubing for drip irrigation, approximately 180,000 pounds per year;
• Reuse of all shipping pallets on site, approximately 60 per year. Most recently, they were used to build a native plant nursery onsite;
• Reuse of 2,750,000 pounds of asphalt, provided by the Department of Transportation. Monsanto accepts truckloads (25 tons per truck) that would otherwise be destined for the landfill, and is instead repurposed for farm roads;
• Donated 220 tillable land acres to the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation to support local farmers;
• Decreased disposable dishware usage by providing reusable dishware for all employees;
• Trained employees on proper compost practices. All contents from the employee kitchen compost are transferred to a larger outdoor compost container located by the farm’s native plant garden;
• Created a household battery collection site for employees to dispose of all of their used batteries; and
• Implemented a purchasing policy that requires a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer recycled paper to be purchased for office usage and 20 percent for janitorial products.
Monsanto’s Upper Kunia Farm is the first in Hawaii to receive the Zero Waste Certification. To date, 19 other companies in the U.S. that have received the certification, including Disneyland Resort, Earth Friendly Products, Fetzer Vineyards, Microsoft, Nature’s Path Foods, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., and Whole Foods Market, Southern Pacific Region.
“Eliminating waste is critical to the health of our environment and Monsanto Hawaii is committed to finding new ways to become more sustainable,” added Dan Clegg, business operations lead for Monsanto Hawaii. “We are honored to be the first company in the state to achieve the Zero Waste Certification and hope to inspire other local organizations to follow.”