AUSTIN, Minn. – A team of employees from Hormel Foods Corp.’s Austin pork processing plant have been recognized with the company’s 2018 Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best award. As part of the company-wide annual challenge to develop solutions to reduce its environmental impacts, the team from Austin designed and implemented an environmentally friendly heat-recovery system that saved 101 million BTUs and 17 million gallons of water in a year.  

Teams from the company’s facilities focus on solutions to achieve the corporate 2020 environmental goals, which include reducing air emissions, water use, landfill waste and nonrenewable energy use by 10 percent. 

“When the company’s 2020 environmental sustainability goals were developed, we knew our plant played a key role in achieving these results for the company,” said Brandon Espe, project engineer at the Austin plant. “By using a competition to help drive these results, the competitive nature of our employees really shines.”

Tom Raymond, director of environmental sustainability said the competition, which is in its 11th year, is beneficial for the teams and the company. “Each year, our locations implement projects that deliver outstanding results, and this year was no exception. Congratulations to the Austin plant for their winning project and thank you to everyone who participated.”

Finalists in the 2018 competition included a team from the company’s Ceratti plant in São Paulo which developed a method to reduce boiler emissions; the Dallas-based Don Miguel Foods team for their water pretreatment project; and the Osceola, Iowa-based team for their wastewater organic loading reduction project. A total of 41 projects were entered in the 2018 competition, which equated to annual savings of over 62 million gallons of water, 146,000 million BTUs and 359 tons of solid waste.

“Hormel Foods does a fantastic job of recognizing all the participants and hard work that has gone into these sustainability projects and continues to invest time and money to show just how important environmental sustainability really is,” Espe said.