Hormel makes packaging changes to further reduce paper waste

Following its reduction of 5.2 million pounds of product packaging in 2008, Hormel Foods Corp. has announced the results of several new packaging projects.

“Our new initiatives build on about 40 packaging reduction projects completed in 2008 and reflect the way we continuously look for means to improve the packaging of our products and reduce our environmental footprint,” said Daniel S. Miller, research and development manager of packaging development at Hormel Foods. “In this process, we work with our suppliers to find innovative solutions.”

New packaging reduction highlights and projected savings include:
* The elimination of extra room in the Jennie-O Turkey Store burgers carton is expected to have an annual paperboard savings of more than 175,000 pounds.
* Lloyd’s barbeque tubs no longer have an extra paper sleeve. This modification will eliminate enough solid waste to fill 22 garbage trucks and save more than 660,000 pounds of paper fiber annually.
* Reducing the thickness of the glass used to produce each jar of Hormel bacon bits will produce annual material savings around 411,000 pounds.
* Reconfiguration of the shipping box for Hormel Compleats microwave meals removed 23 percent of the material required to make the previous corrugated packaging box and generated an annual materials savings of 1.2 million pounds. In addition, changes to the size of the carton flaps of the product and reallocation of materials resulted in annual savings of more than 980 million pounds of solid waste.
* Hormel party trays packaging was redesigned to eliminate the need for shrink wrap to produce an annual savings of approximately 100,000 pounds. The corrugated case to ship the product will be smaller, resulting in a corrugated material savings of more than 174,000 pounds per year.
* Redesign of the shipping box for Hormel pork ribs, butts and bone-in offers more strength while creating an annual corrugated materials savings of about 2.4 million pounds.
* Reducing the height, width and length of each box used to ship Hormel pepperoni, increased the amount of product on each pallet, saving materials and reducing the number of trailers needed each year. The anticipated savings is 188,000 pounds of wood fiber annually and 49,000 pounds of corrugated.

Changes to the shipping of canned food products made by Hormel Foods will result in efficiencies that reduce the number of pallets needed annually by 14,573 and require less plastic and bundling film.

Source: Hormel Foods Corp.

National Beef plant to vote on unionization

Workers at the National Beef plant in Dodge City, Kan., will vote soon on whether to unionize, the National Labor Relations Board has announced. The exact date for the vote will be set next week, and a vote is expected to take place some time this month, according to AP reports.

The NLRB did not state how many workers had signed a petition to vote on unionization, but it was more than the group's 30 percent threshold. Martin Rosas, secretary-treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers, estimated that 65 percent of the plant's workers had signed the petition.

“We are very confident,” he said.

The last large plant in Kansas to vote on unionization was a Tyson plant in Holcomb. Workers rejected unionization by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. In the case of the National Beef plant, there is a unionized Cargill plant just two miles away, Rosas pointed out.

Source: Associated Press

Former Agriprocessors HR employees gets probation

A former human resources employees at Agriprocessors Inc. was sentenced to two years of probation for helping to hire illegal employees at the plant. Laura Althouse had been charged with conspiracy to hire illegal immigrants and aggravated identity theft. The identity theft charges were later dismissed, reported theDes Moines Register.

Althouse was working at the plant when it was raided by federal authorities in May, 2009. Charges were brought against her and other HR employees. Althouse's lawyer presented the U.S. district judge with more than 30 letters from friends and family members, who spoke about her struggles as a paralyzed single mother and stated that she was “only doing her job and being loyal to her supervisor” at the plant.

Source: Des Moines Register