It’s hard to live and work among the incredible landscape that is the Pacific Northwest – with its majestic mountains, rolling rivers and towering trees – and not think about how our business practices impact the world around us. Being good stewards of our environment is important to us here at Tillamook, and we’re proud that our company is making strides to run our farmer-owned co-op in a sustainable way. In fact, in 2010 we completed a Sustainability Operations Audit with Portland State University and ECOS, a consulting firm specializing in sustainability engineering, which helped lay the necessary groundwork to set goals and action items in a number of key areas. The key areas include reducing energy use, packaging materials, waste, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and fuel consumption. This is just the beginning of this journey for Tillamook, but here are some highlights of the specific steps we have taken as part of a comprehensive sustainability program:
- Focusing on reducing energy usage by reusing heat that would otherwise be wasted in various manufacturing processes, using low-level lighting in storage areas and installing meters to help monitor energy use, among other initiatives.
- Continuously evaluating packaging options as part of our commitment to use packaging materials that minimize raw inputs and support reuse and recycling. For example, by redesigning the lid on our yogurt cups, we were able to eliminate the use of 250,000 pounds of plastic annually.
- Closely monitoring the amount of water we purchase and use. By using the smallest amount of water needed, we reduce the amount of wastewater that results from the cheese making process. We also track water used at each facility, and in each department, to pinpoint opportunities for improvement, such as installing seal water control devices.
- Working to reduce waste by operating an intensive company-wide recycling program for more than 12 areas of waste.
- We also recently conducted a transportation audit to analyze traffic patterns between our manufacturing and distribution facilities, which enabled us to establish a baseline for fuel economy, annual fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. As a result, a new, more efficient shipping and distribution plan has been put into effect. It saves fuel and miles by using forward warehouses that are located in closer proximity to our growing customer base, and makes it more efficient to package and distribute Tillamook products to key geographic regions outside of the Northwest.
We feel even better about the quality of our Tillamook dairy products knowing that they’re being made in a way that is sensitive to our environment, and we look forward to continuing our sustainability efforts into the future. If you have any questions about this information, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us here.