Focus areas of ecology awareness
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We recognize the importance of being good stewards of our natural resources, as well as how crucial passing on a healthy, safe environment is to future generations. That’s why managing our waste and using recycled products as much as possible are at the forefront of our decisions.
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Most manufacturing operations produce waste and Herr’s® is no exception. However at Herr’s, most of the waste generated is used at the nearby Herr’s Angus Farm. Water discharge is used for spray irrigation, sludge for fertilizer and potato skins for fodder. Also, any product that does not meet Herr’s quality standards is used as cattle feed.
Our manufacturing systems have been carefully designed to be environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, and our steam recovery system saves energy by capturing the plant’s hot water and turning it into hot air that heats the building. Our starch recovery system collects excess potato starch, which is then sold to fine paper manufacturers. By making ecologically friendly choices like these, we have ensured that as little waste as possible leaves our plant.
At the consumer end, there is also very little waste in Herr’s products. Unlike many other foods, Herr’s products are totally consumed by its customers. There is no waste in bones, rinds, stalks, or leaves. Herr’s snack food products, therefore, contribute very little to the municipal waste stream and must be judged as "minimum waste" products.
The most important environmental issue challenging Herr’s and other snack food manufacturers is packaging. Herr’s has also addressed this issue. For instance, all of Herr’s corrugated containers used to ship fresh product to the stores are re-used over and over. When they are no longer usable, they are then collected, baled and sold to recyclers to be made into more corrugated or other paper products.
To ensure freshness of its products and minimize food spoilage and food waste, snack food manufacturers must use high barrier plastic film for packaging many of their products. While these thin packaging materials are not biodegradable, they compress very readily and, because of this, they take up very little space in landfills and other refuse disposal sites.
While natural biodegradability of waste is of course desirable, authoritative studies have shown that very little biodegrading of any kind occurs in landfills. This is due to the absence of light, moisture, heat and bacterial action beneath the surface.
Besides being extremely compressible, plastics are chemically inert. They do not break down and leak toxic chemicals into the water table or into the atmosphere. And because they do not break down, plastics provide a stable base for holding other landfill materials in place.
In waste-to-steam facilities, plastics become a real asset. Because plastics are made from petroleum rather than trees, they burn almost completely. Additionally, when burned, plastics produce more heat than coal. Unlike coal however, they do not in any way contribute to acid rain.
Of course, consistent with industry practices at large, Herr's also flushes each of its bags with nitrogen to ensure no oxygen remains in the bag. By doing so, Herr's is able to preserve its products without generating any waste.
It is becoming increasingly evident that landfills are not the answer to waste management. Recycling offers the best solution. Many plastics are now recyclable. More are becoming so. Unfortunately, thin snack food packages are not easily collected from consumers so that they might be recycled. This has been a major problem in recycling snack food packaging. However, Herr's and other snack food companies have succeeded in reducing the amount of packaging by reducing its size and thickness.
Most snack operations produce by-products, and we’re no exception. However, at Herr’s, most of our solid and water by-products are recycled at the Herr Angus Farms. Water discharge is used for spray irrigation, sludge for fertilizer and potato skins for fodder. Also, any product that does not meet our quality standards is incorporated into cattle feed that our farmers have fondly coined as “steer party mix.”
Nearly 1 million gallons of water drawn from the processing of Herr’s potatoes are pumped to the farms for spray irrigation weekly on the 1500-acre farm, which includes a cropping program of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay.
The Herr Angus Farms works with such environmental agencies as the Environmental Protection Agency, Chester County Conservation District, and soil conservationists to ensure erosion control and improve stream, ground and surface water quality.
Herr's passion for quality leads it to seek new and better ways to serve its customers and at the same time protect the environment. From new products, to packaging, to guaranteeing freshness in every Herr's product, Herr's is constantly working at continuous improvement. It recognizes that environmental protection is a long-term commitment. Herr's has made that commitment and will continue to be responsive to all advances in technology, new protocols for better health and new discoveries in the environmental sciences. It will continue to support government and public efforts to expand environment protection activities that will help safeguard the environment.
Herr's is very concerned with environmental issues. And because of this, the people at Herr's, from its family oriented management to its over 1,500 valued employees, are doing their best to meet the environmental issues head-on by implementing environmentally friendly practices and procedures throughout the entire Herr's organization.