Zero waste at Datepac LLC
Yuma, Ariz.-based Datepac LLC, for example, has similar measures in place, said Ed O’Malley, president and chief executive officer.
“In the field, Bard Valley growers are already at a zero output level,” he said.
“We use no pesticides, limited fertilizers, have a very tightly controlled water usage program in place, 100% composting and reuse of culls,” he said.
Zero waste is ideal but it’s difficult, if not impossible, to achieve, said Burleson Smith, vice president of environmental affairs and sustainability for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association.
“Zero waste is an attractive goal but it is difficult to achieve in a consumer-driven society where convenience, freshness and availability are demanded,” he said.
Efforts to reduce packaging have to be balanced with the need to protect the product from damage in transit while remaining attractive to the consumer, Smith said.
“An area to watch is the use of recycled materials to reduce waste,” Smith said.
A 'journey' at Black Gold Farms
Eric Halverson, executive vice president of technology, Black Gold Farms, Grand Forks N.D., described zero waste as a journey.
“I think many people are learning many things that get us closer to zero waste, but we have to be careful about what our real expectations are,” he said.