The diversity of Texas produces a large variety of food products featured on national grocery store shelves and restaurants. It takes effort at all points of the supply chain for environmental conservation. How do food and beverages get to your home? What are the products packaged in? Many food industry leaders are answering these questions by placing priority on the environment. From reducing waste to developing efficient buildings and supply chains, Texas’ food providers are working to ensure Texas’ natural resources are conserved.
H-E-B demonstrates its commitment to conservation daily in nearly every aspect of its operations, from responsible seafood sourcing to store and warehouse solar installations that have made the company one of the largest private owners of solar power systems in the region.
The company’s reduce, reuse and recycling program is a big part of its environmental focus. In 2018, the company recycled 475 million pounds of cardboard, plastics, paper, metals, wood, truck tires, and food waste.
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Headquartered in San Antonio, H-E-B is the largest privately held employer in Texas, and operates more than 400 grocery stores in Texas and Mexico. Through the work of a team led by Ted Lechner, Reverse Logistics Manager, H-E-B continuously looks for innovative ways to limit landfill-bound packaging by collecting used plastic bags at store entrances, plastic film from warehouses, pill bottles from pharmacies, and buckets and milk jugs from its manufacturing facilities.
Lechner’s team also recirculates reusable plastic containers such as pallets, snack boxes, and floral buckets into the retailer’s network, and refurbishes or recycles them at the end of their life cycle. A monthly public auction is held to sell surplus equipment from stores and offices.
H-E-B strives to reduce food waste generated in manufacturing, packaging, distribution and handling. Through these efforts, the company has donated 32 million pounds of safe, edible foods to food banks in Texas and Mexico in 2018, diverted food scraps for animal feed, and composted food waste.
H-E-B has received several conservation awards and was one of the first businesses to earn the Gold Certification from the City of San Antonio’s ReWorksSA program, an initiative that helps companies implement best practices in waste management and recycling. The company also supports conservation further afield: H-E-B has long-standing partnerships with The Nature Conservancy, Cibolo Nature Center and Farm, Audubon Texas, and many more. Each year, H-E-B supports more than 75 environmental organizations in Texas.
“We believe that forming alliances with like-minded and conservation-passionate companies and organizations will be crucial to conserving our natural resources,” says Winell Herron, H-E-B Group Vice President of Public Affairs, Diversity and Environmental Affairs. “We’re a company from Texas that works for all Texans, and H-E-B will always go above and beyond to support and protect our home now and for future generations.”