Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale said it has recycled 35 tons of food from its headquarters cafeteria since partnering with Food Loops of Rogers.
The two companies started a pilot program in 2018 after Food Loops conducted a waste assessment study. Tyson Foods said employees put their uneaten food and recyclable products on a conveyor belt, and Food Loops collects the material.
After the food and material decompose in 90 days, Food Loops sells the product to farmers and gardeners as fertilizer.
"At Tyson Foods, our work towards a zero-waste future starts at home at our world headquarters in northwest Arkansas”, said Alex Floyd, senior manager of sustainability at Tyson Foods. “This composting pilot will allow us to test and learn how we can be less wasteful and more mindful of what we consider trash. The learnings will help us expand this program to other locations in the future.”
The company said food waste is about 30% of what is thrown away when the material can be composted for fertilizing uses. Jeff Callahan, the company's corporate cafeteria chef, said Tyson Foods has also replaced single-use items such as straws and cups with items that can decompose.
Tyson Foods said it reduced its landfill usage by 5.2 billion pounds in fiscal year 2020, which is a 60% increase from the previous year.
"We are excited to be on this journey towards a more sustainable future with a global company like Tyson Foods," Food Loops co-founder Michael Kraus said. "This pilot is already making a big positive impact in Northwest Arkansas, and we hope other companies will be inspired to follow Tyson's lead when it comes to becoming part of the food waste solution at a commercial scale."