Sustainability
Sustainability

Throughout the years, Piazza Produce has worked tirelessly toward the goal of becoming a Zero Waste organization. By involving everyone in our company, we’ve improved our waste diversion practices and become a leader for sustainability in our community.

In 2005, we realized the amount of waste we were consistently generating wasn’t ethical, economical, or efficient: we had 2,174.77 tons of waste generated from our operations. We were paying to ship most of that waste to landfills. We had to ask ourselves if this was just the cost of doing business, or if there was a way to cut cost and reduce our environmental impact.

By involving every department in the company and the guidance and ever-persistent drive of Facilities & Sustainability Manager Scott Lutocka, we were able to achieve Zero Waste status and continue to evolve and improve our sustainability practices.

The Better Way

We’re primarily a produce company. We sell products that are grown in the soil, and, for the most part, will decompose if they’re not eaten in a timely fashion. Our journey to Zero Waste started with the various packaging materials generated in our distribution center. As we drilled down further into our waste stream, we found additional items to recycle. Our final barrier to achieve Zero Waste was the incorporation of a commercial composting program. Once our commercial compost permit was obtained from IDEM, we started with obvious things like fruits and vegetables and slowly grew our compostable diversion rates.

“Zero waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed for others to use.” -Scott Lutocka

Today, we’re recycling packaging materials, electronics, office materials, metals, and anything else that we can. We Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, or Compost over 95% of what we at one time considered waste. As time passed, and we saw the benefits of being a Zero Waste company such as reducing our operational expenses while increasing our Recycling revenues, we continued to find new ways to reduce the amount of waste we were generating.

The Green Team

The best thing about Reducing, Reusing, Recycling, Refurbishing, Refinishing, and Composting waste is that every employee is involved. Whether it’s putting material into the right compost barrels or sorting different types of cardboard, every would-be source of waste at Piazza Produce is accounted for. Everyone employed by Piazza Produce is considered a member of what Scott calls his Green Team.

Where We Want to Go

Since 2005, we’ve made steady progress every year. We’ve been, quite literally, shedding pounds of waste, becoming a leaner and more efficient company overall. This hasn’t been easy or immediate, but it is worthwhile. We have consistently reduced the amount of waste we put out into the world, all while supporting “green economy” jobs in our community.

Awards

Piazza is a member of the Indiana Recycling Coalition and is a founding member of the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council. Our sustainability efforts and metrics are tracked and verified in house and through Heritage Interactive Services to ensure accuracy. We have built sustainability into our company, and maintain the philosophy to always evolve and search for better practices.

Certifications
  • 2014

    U.S. Zero Waste Business Council Certified Gold Level Zero Waste Facility

  • 2015

    Go Green Plus Certification

  • 2016

    Green Business Bureau Platinum Certification

Awards
  • 2012

    Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's Sustainability Award in the area of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  • 2013

    Heritage Interactive Services, LLC "A World of Difference" for achieving Zero Landfill

  • 2014

    Food Logistics Top Green Provider Award

    RecycleForce 3rd Annual Corporate Challenge Award for electronics recycling

For more information about Piazza Produce’s Zero Waste & Sustainability success, please contact Scott D. Lutocka at: slutocka@piazzaproduce.com.