Green Is Not Only On Our Trucks, It Is Our Way Of Doing Business
At Keany Produce & Gourmet, we strive to operate in the most environmentally sustainable manner because we know that the health of the planet is essential to the quality of our product and the longevity of our industry. Our mission is to provide our customers with the highest quality produce and gourmet items while leaving the smallest footprint possible. We have developed multiple sustainability initiatives to facilitate our short and long-term goals, all of which are aimed on resource conservation, energy efficiency, and waste reduction. For the past 30 years, Keany Produce & Gourmet has developed partnerships with local, national, and international vendors to ensure our products come from reputable and sustainable growers. As a family business, we understand the importance of providing future generations with not only a prosperous economy, but a healthy environment; we constantly search for new innovations that enable us to achieve our goals. Operating in the most sustainable way isn’t just respectful, it’s essential to the health of the planet that feeds us.
In April, 2017, Keany Produce & Gourmet switched our invoices from four sheets to two. In a single year, we reduced our paper use by 2,184,000 sheets, which roughly equates to 262 trees. By making this simple change, we were able to prevent 17.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, which is the equivalent to 41.3 barrels of oil, or 19,510 pounds of coal burned.
Through the optimization of routes, Keany Produce has significantly reduced fuel consumption for the month of February, 2018. In order to reduce our carbon footprint and smooth-line our deliveries, we reduced total routes by 10.5%, while maintaining production and efficiency. Not only has this saved us money, but it also saved 4,697 gallons of diesel fuel for the month, or 41.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide. This is equivalent to about nine cars taken off the road for a whole year, or the electricity used to power six homes for a year.
In the fall of 2017, we began an extensive overhaul of our warehouse and office lighting fixtures. The project extended over three months, replacing existing fluorescent lighting with smart LED’s throughout our 90,000 square foot facility. The state-of-the-art LED lights are motion activated, and capable of “learning” slow hours of the day in order to better regulate the warehouse and offices. They can also be controlled remotely, and will adjust based on levels of natural light to maximize efficiency. After completing the project in December, 2017, we have saved approximately 30,600 kilowatt hours monthly, reducing our lighting expenses by 77%. This equates to saving roughly 22.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released every month. Over the span of a year, carbon dioxide savings from this initiative total at 273 metric tons, or the equivalent of driving a car around the Earth 28 times.
Repurposing Food Waste:
The in-house, fresh-cut processing facility of Keany Produce & Gourmet processes an average of 150,000 pounds of produce per week. The precise cuts and specificity of this department not only produces the finest fresh cut products in our region, but generates an extensive amount of food waste. Instead of throwing that organic waste in the dumpster filling our local landfill, we donate it to a hog farm in Brandywine, MD. The farm is located 40 miles away from our Landover, MD, facility, and we deliver approximately 50,000 pounds of raw food scraps to feed their livestock every week.
Recycling Broken Pallets:
We recycle our broken pallets from both of our facilities – Emerald Isle in Richmond, VA and Keany Produce & Gourmet in Landover, MD – with a local company called Allied Pallet Company. The company collects the broken pallets and takes them to their reconditioning plant where they are refurbished and transformed into new viable pallets. According to data from 2013 Hardwood Market Report, wooden pallets and wooden shipping containers consume 44% of all the hardwood produced in the United States. By sending our broken pallets to a refurbishing facility, we are extending the product’s life-span, reducing our waste, and lowering the demand of raw materials.
In our Landover, MD facility, we have eight separate customized climate-controlled zones that use independent Bohn Refrigeration systems ranging from 33° to 50° F. This allows all items to be maintained at the optimum temperature and humidity. Moreover, the facility presents three Bohn HeatCraft pressurized ripening rooms for bananas, mangoes, and avocados to help ensure peak ripeness. To achieve the highest energy efficiency, all zones and rooms are electronically controlled, alarmed and monitored 24 hours a day using the newest refrigeration technology from Danfoss (SM-880). In addition, the system is accessible online allowing on-site and off-site control to detect any issues that would cause reduced efficiency. Our compressor and fans operate on demand, and our thermostats are preset for optimum efficiency and locked to avoid tampering. The various controls on our refrigeration system avoid unnecessary use of electricity and create an overall lower carbon footprint.
Supporting Local Farms:
Over the past 37 years the Keany family has built solid relationships with local growers. We currently purchase produce from 30 local growers in a radius of 250 miles from our Landover facility. That includes farms in the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and West Virginia. Buying locally supports local economy and requires less transportation, therefore less use of fossil fuels, reducing the environmental impacts associated with the distribution of the products. Moreover, instead of having each farm send their truck to deliver their products in our facility, our drivers make regular runs to pick up products at multiple farms, reducing fuel consumption and vehicles on the road. Furthermore, Keany Produce provides its customers with regular market updates and seasonal availability charts to encourage sales of local products.