Living Our Principles – Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best Winners

Burke Corporation in Nevada, IA, was named the champion of the 2010 Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best, which is our annual competition with employees to reward sustainable projects. Read the descriptions of three of the projects below.

Plant Location: Burke Corporation

The Burke team focused on employee ownership of water conservation.


  • Through employee involvement, the implementation of a weekend water shutdown list, equipment changes and training, Burke reduced its actual water use in 2010 by 10 percent from 2009 and 24 percent from 2008. In addition, Burke increased usage efficiency by 15 percent from 2009 and 42 percent from 2008. The company saved more than 40 million gallons of water in two years.

Plant Location: Knoxville

Employees at the plant in Knoxville, IA, improved water use efficiency by implementing a closed-loop cooling system. Cooling water that had made a single pass through plant equipment is now being captured and continually looped through the equipment, which saves 98,000 gallons of water per day. This project has resulted in environmental benefits beyond water reduction, such as a decrease in the plant’s energy use by reducing the amount of load on the ammonia refrigeration system.


  • Water saved in October 2010 versus October 2009: 3.6 million gallons or 70 percent

Plant Location: Fremont

In order to help meet the company goal, the plant set out to reduce the solid waste to landfill by 10 percent from fiscal year 2009. In pursuit of this goal, the team installed equipment to hydrolyze solid waste and increased awareness of recycling at the plant with a poster campaign. A team also worked with recyclers to determine what types of plastic could be recycled and to receive credit for each type. Finally, the plant selected a supplier to receive and apply agricultural nutrients through land spreading application. As a result, the Fremont facility met and surpassed its aggressive goal and reduced solid waste to landfill by 17 percent in 2010.


  • 28 percent improvement in recycled tons from 2009
  • Increased recycled material by 274 tons from 2009
  • Decreased land filled material by 566 tons from 2009
  • Category Management

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    Stephanie K. Postma shares how Hormel Foods became the first manufacturer to earn full certification in category management. View video.

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  • Making Progress Toward Our Goals

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    Read about the progress we have made toward our goals.