Like many major companies, Land O’Lakes has become increasingly committed to sustainability initiatives in recent years. For example, Purina Animal Nutrition, a Land O’Lakes subsidiary, recently set out to develop a cost-effective recycling solution for used Purina feed tubs, a difficult and logistically-complex objective. Land O’Lakes called on Northstar Recycling, their recycling partner for all of the United States and Canada, to handle this challenge.
Purina feed tubs present recycling issues because, by necessity, they need to be constructed of heavy, durable material—often rigid plastics—to stand up to rough shipping conditions, inclement weather and, of course, hungry animals. Another challenge was creating a process for collecting the used tubs from farmers across the country.
After analyzing the plastics market and consulting with longstanding plastic recycling partners, Northstar determined that plastic lumber manufacturers would have the greatest demand for the used Purina feed tubs. Northstar then selected the optimal partner and worked with Purina on the logistics of this pilot program to ensure a smooth implementation.
Additionally, working with a plastic lumber producer gave Purina the opportunity to create a truly unique and innovative customer experience and launch Project Re-Coop. Through this initiative, the plastic lumber made from recycled Purina feed tubs is used to construct floating chicken coops that protect chickens against flooding. With increasingly unpredictable weather, this project is very timely and effective. Case in point: Hurricane Florence alone killed an estimated 3.4 million chickens.
“This business is all about resourcefulness and innovation,” says John Trovato, National Recycling Director at Northstar. “Our company exists to tackle these kinds of challenges. And it’s great when you’re operating at this large a scale, helping to make a significant impact.”