Environment and Sustainability
Seneca is committed to finding ways to process used materials into new products, prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, and decrease air and water pollution.
To date we have initiated programs that
- Reuse fruit and vegetable by-products as feed for livestock and nutrients for soil.
- Utilize waste to produce energy for use in the manufacturing process.
- Reduced the amount of waste delivered to landfills through packaging optimization and in plant recycling programs.
- All Seneca plants use natural gas (cleanest gas available) and are under the EPA required CO2 emissions threshold.
- In the mid 90's, oxidizers were installed in both can-manufacturing plants, which have allowed Seneca to reduce thousands of pounds of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's).
- Seneca's Fleet Operations has installed aerodynamic fairings on all trailers in order to further reduce our carbon footprint by a projected 8%.
From the farm to the table, energy affects every aspect of our process. We will continue to search for ways to reduce energy. To date, Seneca has completed the following towards this goal:
- Installation of boiler economizers, heat exchangers, blow-down heat exchanges, condensate recovery systems, and reverse osmosis units where feasible to reduce boiler blow down (these units will lower natural gas consumption).
- Variable frequency drives on blowers and pumps are used.
- Energy efficient lighting with occupancy sensors was installed in warehouses.
- Electric forklifts within warehouses have been purchased to decrease the usage of propone and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
- Implemented program for peak energy reduction in freezer plants to lessen equipment usage during peak hours.
- Usage of Programmable Logic Controllers to monitor equipment runtime and turn off equipment if no activity due to product variation.
- Elimination of tractors idling during down time due to APU (auxiliary power units) installation.
- Policy put in place at all warehouses for non-idling of tractors when being loaded or unloaded.
- Since the path towards sustainability starts with packaging, Seneca realizes the importance of packaging optimization to control the amount and types of resources utilized.
- Seneca has implemented down-gauging of steel in cans and ends, thermal oxidation and energy recovery on steel sheet coating, and use of water based compounds for steel coating.
- Reductions in can end weight have resulted in saving 5 lbs. of steel for every 1,000 of ends produced which further saves on resources and freight costs.
- Installation of state of the art thermal oxidizers has lowered volatile organic emissions, saved natural gas consumption in Seneca coating operations, and an energy savings of $4.64 per every thousand sheets of steel.
- Seneca's new drying units in the manufacturing of can ends now allow use of water based (versus solvent based compounds) which result in zero volatile organic emissions.
As a leader in our industry, it’s our responsibility to do what we can to reduce water waste.
- Seneca rewards plants that lower water usage on an annual basis resulting in a water usage per case decline of 31% over three years and total generated waste water per case decline of 32% over same three years.
- Seneca has installed a water management system and reverse osmosis units, which allow us to send unused production water to irrigation and reduce energy costs by increasing the efficiency of steam generation.
- Seneca has installed an anaerobic digester at one plant to treat wastewater as well as generate energy from biomass.
- A by-product of anaerobic digestion is methane gas, which is then used as fuel in the manufacturing process. This digester allows us to convert from consuming energy as part of wastewater treatment to actual generation of a renewable source of energy.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Seneca uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices to minimize the use of pesticides for a healthier planet.
- Agriculture Advisors and Environmental Coordinators are employed at each agricultural location to reduce and track all pesticide applications and ensure consistency throughout Seneca operations.
- Production fields are mapped, surveyed, and discussed with growers to protect ecologically sensitive areas.
- Pesticide selection, application, and timing are sometimes altered to ensure the protection of ecologically sensitive areas with an appropriate buffer zone.
- Integrated efforts between Agriculture and Operations personnel, plus growers, further leverage plant optimization that may allow reductions in pesticide use.