Waste Reduction and Recycling | JBS USA | Sustainability Report

Our Commitment

JBS USA’s commitment is to reuse or recycle the maximum amount of materials, with the goal of sending as little to landfills as possible. Each facility works to recycle material and reduce waste by optimizing facility logistics and team member training.

Waste and Recycling Practices

In each of our production facilities, we have goals to decrease the amount of packaging used in our finished products and decrease waste sent to landfills. In 2021, Pilgrim’s Moy Park continued to maintain its commitment of zero waste to landfill across all facilities, while Pilgrim’s UK also achieved its goal of zero waste to landfill in its first year.

In Europe, Pilgrim’s Moy Park was the first poultry company to undertake a commitment to reduce packaging and food waste in its supply chain. The initiative is part of an ambitious campaign to combat the use of plastics and packaging in its business and in the industry. The company plans to lower its global use of packaging by 5% each year, while simultaneously raising the percentage of recyclable packages by 5%. Among actions planned, Moy Park will collaborate with researchers and supply chain partners to develop sustainable packaging for its entire product portfolio and will eliminate single use plastic from its office and restaurants. Moy Park and Pilgrim’s UK have adopted the strategy of “Remove, Reduce, Recycle and Research” and will begin using 100% recyclable rigid packaging by 2022. All other packaging will be widely recyclable by 2025.

As a company, we continue to explore alternative materials that offer recyclability and technologies that allow us to reduce the amount of packaging needed, while still maintaining strict product safety requirements. In our day-to-day operations, we work to improve recycling opportunities at each facility and reduce overall waste generated.

Product packaging provides a unique challenge for our industry. To prevent contamination at recycling facilities, packaging materials used at production facilities that come into contact with blood, meat or fat cannot be recycled, per the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) standards. Due to the nature of our products, this reduces our ability to recycle packaging material used at our production facilities.

The meat processing industry is incredibly efficient from a food waste prevention standpoint. We process byproducts, such as blood, meat and bones, to create saleable materials and reduce waste. Nearly 100% of inedible byproducts are rendered to produce tallow and blood and bone meal, which we then sell to other companies to be used in consumer goods, such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals or in livestock or poultry feed. Pilgrim’s UK has commitments to both the Sustainable Development goal 12.3 and to Courtauld Commitment which are both working towards halving food waste by 2030. Currently only 0.1% of Pilgrim’s UK’s production is classified as food waste. Actions currently employed to reduce this number even further include using the Waste Hierarchy to derive as much value as possible from all product and donating food products to food redistribution charities to prevent food waste.

Reducing and Recycling Waste

In the U.S., we strive to recycle all that we can at our facilities. We recycle:


of clean cardboard material, which is sent to recycling centers or paper mills to be reused


of our pallets, which are returned to our suppliers for reuse


of all metal, which is sent to a salvage yard


of clean, non-contaminated plastic, which is collected in bins and then sent to either a recycling center or melted down and repurposed to make new products


of our plastic high-density polyethylene (HDPE) tote bags, which are sold to our original manufacturer and then reused in our next order, creating a closed loop system

2021 Progress

We have continued to focus on improving data quality related to waste and packaging, as a result we are tracking more indicators and are able to better understand and monitor our waste streams. Improved data quality also leads to more complete measurements which are higher than partially complete past data. As a global company, from 2019 to 2021, our total waste generated decreased by 14%. However, our waste to landfill unfortunately increased 20%.

As a highlight, both our Pilgrim’s Moy Park and Pilgrim’s UK teams maintained their commitments to send zero waste to landfill across all facilities in 2021. 

In the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, our percentage of biodegradable and recyclable packaging material used increased by 11%; and our total packaging material per ton of finished product decreased by 12%. We continue to stay focused on increasing our recyclable packaging, especially as we expect packaging material per ton to increase as a result of growing customer and consumer demand for smaller pack sizes.

The data below represents our efforts at tracking waste and recycling at our facilities. In some cases, the local municipality collects all waste and recycling, which makes tracking the data impossible. We are currently working to develop collaborative partnerships in these locations, so that we can share data to better track our performance.

Waste Performance3

JBS US and Canada1 JBS Australia and NZ Pilgrim’s US and PR Pilgrim’s Mexico Pilgrim’s Europe2
2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021
Total Waste Generated
432,397 404,235 448,309 88,113 96,818 97,594 163,501 167,767 169,880 87,436 74,622 60,644 210,859 135,364 71,914
Total Waste To Landfill
74,773 82,218 92,882 14,020 17,605 19,448 54,360 68,604 63,086 21,433 19,930 22,683 721 516 0
Waste to Landfill Intensity
(Per Ton of Finished Product)
0.0093 0.0107 0.0118 0.0101 0.0144 0.0158 0.0106 0.0134 0.0123 0.0215 0.0198 0.0227 0.0007 0.0005 0
Total Waste Recycled
85,877 61,432 97,307 5,451 6,744 10,439 6,751 7,053 4,270 5,384 2,659 2,101 69,012 16,699 15,713
Total Waste Composted
82,247 92,719 95,512 68,641 58,003 49,286 9,061 4,385 9,073 60,614 52,030 35,854 0 0 802
Total Waste Incinerated
1 69 223 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 4 6 14,246 26,578 25,506
Total Waste For Energy Reuse
0 17,650 8,750 0 7,817 10,191 0 0 0 0 0 0 109,628 47,878 10,189
Total Waste Cogenerated/Coprocessed
0 643 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 17,252 14,436 19,704
Total Waste For Fertigation/Land Application
189,499 149,504 153,635 0 6,648 8,230 93,329 87,725 93,451 0 0 0 0 29,257 0
  1. Excludes Pilgrim’s facilities.
  2. Includes Pilgrim’s Moy Park and Pilgrim’s UK.
  3. We make every effort to report accurate data. We provide updated data from previous years in cases where improved information is available. JBS USA/Pilgrim’s revisited data collection processes and as a result, this report includes some improved metrics from past years.

Packaging Performance

JBS US and Canada1 Pilgrim’s US and Puerto Rico
2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021
Packaging Material Used
297,904 181,328 198,697 165,952 164,752 163,906
Total Packaging Material Used Intensity
(Per Ton of Finished Product)
0.0370 0.0236 0.0253 0.0325 0.0321 0.0320
Total Biodegradable and Recyclable Packaging Material Used
224,193 179,009 172,839 116,593 122,065 123,248
Percentage Biodegradable and Recycling Packaging Materials 75.3% 98.7% 87.0% 70.3% 74.1% 75.2%
  1. Excludes Pilgrim’s facilities.