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Eco-efficiency cuts Fonterra waste by 20%

4 August 2008

Eco-efficiency cuts Fonterra waste by 20%

Fonterra's New Zealand manufacturing sites and offices have recycled more than 5,000 tonnes of plastic, cardboard and paper and cut total waste by 20% over the past year.

Eco-efficiency Programme manager, Spring Humphreys, said the savings bring Fonterra's total reduction in waste sent to landfill over the past five years to 84%. He said the savings, achieved through the company's nationwide Eco-efficiency Programme in 2007/08, equate to more than 85,000 trees or about 2,700 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Humphreys said recycling was an important part of Fonterra's Eco-efficiency Programme, but the focus was also on reducing the amount of waste across all the company's operations and offices.

"On top of the 5,274 tonnes of recycling this year, a good chunk of our 20% reduction in waste came from reprocessing dairy products into stockfood and reusing many of our wooden pallets."

Fonterra's Eco-efficiency Programme was established in 2003 and set a nationwide target of reducing 90% of waste sent to landfill by 2009. To date, around 84% of waste sent to landfill has been eliminated.

Mr Humphreys said he was confident of hitting next year's target with the strong support of staff who have played a key role in the success of the Eco-efficiency Programme.

"It's driven throughout the company, but at a site level our staff are responsible for finding new ways to recycle waste, reuse non-recyclable materials and change the way we do things to reduce our waste altogether."

All sites are linked by an 'eco-efficiency champion' who run the programme on each site. Through this 'champion', staff help identify in their everyday roles how waste streams can be eliminated, reduced or recycled in ways that benefit the business.

Some examples of the waste initiatives adopted include:

* Introducing a new milk sample container which uses a reusable electronic chip rather than a plastic label for tagging milk samples. This has reduced more than 100 tonnes of plastic every year.

* Cheese cartons have been replaced by a vacuumed-sealed bag, which enables 7,500 bags to be packed on a pallet rather than the 5,000 cartons. This has resulted in huge transport and logistical efficiencies, quality control and cost savings.

* New systems have reduced Fonterra's milk docket printing requirements by 22 reams of paper a day.

- ENDS -

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