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Kettle Foods: No Green Guilt
Have your junk food and green building, too.
Kettle Foods, the manufacturer of yummy Kettle Brand Potato Chips is racking up awards for green building and sustainable manufacturing. Food Processing Magazine named the company the "Green Plant of the Year," for building a LEED certified factory, using renewable energy, and restoring natural habitat
Constructed three years ago the Beloit Wisconsin factory became the first LEED Gold certified food manufacturing plant in the U.S. by employing state-of-the-art green features including as many eco-friendly materials as possible. Topped with 18 rooftop wind turbines that generate enough energy to produce 56,000 bags of potato chips each year, Kettle has realized 20 percent in annual energy savings (gas and electric). They have also reduced water use--3.4 million gallons--through a reclamation and reuse program, also resulting in annual savings.
Habitat protection and restoration is central to Kettle's mission both in its Wisconsin factory and at its Oregon headquarters through wetland protection and native prairie restoration.
In addition to building related achievements other notable initiatives include more sustainable packaging including a frank and refreshing statement of where they are and hope to be.
"Part of our commitment to the environment includes taking a close look at how we package our products. Our packaging has traditionally been made up of several layers for protection from heat, light and air. But by removing the paper layer of our chip bags, we've reduced the material of the bag by 20 percent, saving over 22,000 trees annually and preventing over 450,000 pounds of packaging from going into landfills each year.
"We'd love to one day make our packaging even more sustainable, like we've done in nearly every other part of our business. Currently, though, there are no packaging materials on the market that meet our high standards ...we are continually on the lookout for recyclable, compostable or biodegradable materials that can be incorporated into our bags."
Bottom line, according to Kettle:
"We're chipping in to live in harmony with the environment around us, through a variety of sustainable business practices. The truth is, we all need to care for the planet. After all, it's where we grow all those fresh, natural potatoes."
Kettle is taking care of its own backyard. So should we all.