Bruce Foods, maker of legendary “Original” Louisiana Hot Sauce, is leading all other hot sauces into a more sustainable future. The company has nearly completed an expansion of its food processing plant in Wilson, North Carolina that includes a major methane capture installation. The Wilson plant, one of four owned by the Tex-Mex specialist, produces canned yams, potatoes and gravies, which results in huge mounds of food waste and consequently a prodigious output of methane. Previously, the plant simply vented the methane but purchased natural gas to run its equipment. After the expansion is complete, the plant will run mainly on recovered methane.
On-Site Methane Capture and Sustainable Food Processing
Bruce Foods’s Wilson plant features a 22 million gallon capacity water treatment system. The new methane capture process will add a six million gallon gas digester to the treatment system. Along with other upgrades, methane capture is expected to reduce the plant’s greenhouse emissions significantly. Aside from sustainability improvements at the Wilson plant, several years ago Bruce Foods established a sustainability policy that includes maintaining a leadership position, being proactive, and reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. The company has already developed a comprehensive recycling policy for paper and plastic waste at all of its operations. Water recovery and conservation form another part of the company’s long term sustainability goals.
Food Waste as a Natural Resource
Just a few short years ago, food waste mainly went from the dinner plate to the trash can. As exemplified by the addition of Bruce Foods’s Wilson plant to the growing list of uses for food waste, this raw material is getting a second life as a natural resource. California is heavy into food waste-to-energy, farmers are discovering the benefits of recycling food waste, and companies like Green Mountain Technologies are marketing food waste composters to hotels and other food service businesses. On top of that are biofuels from recycled grease and other food waste biomass, and even new high tech materials like aerogels made partly with agricultural waste. As for Bruce Foods, the company’s focus on sustainability hasn’t gotten in the way of a little fun; earlier this year, the company held a Youtube contest for original videos featuring “Original” Louisiana Hot Sauce.
Image: Whatsername? on flickr.com.