SunOpta achieves 'zero waste to landfill' in Alexandria manufacturing facilities

It did it by reusing and recycling materials such as batteries, metals, oils, pallets, bulk bags and barrels.

Sunopta ZeroWaste.jpg
SunOpta staff work on site in Alexandria. The company recently accomplished a major goal of diverting at least 90% of its waste from being placed in a landfill.
Contributed photo

ALEXANDRIA — SunOpta, a Minnesota-based, global pioneer fueling the future of sustainable, plant-based and fruit-based food and beverages, announced it has achieved "zero waste to landfill" at its two Alexandria-based manufacturing facilities.

Alexandria is the most recent location of SunOpta’s zero waste facilities. SunOpta’s Allentown, Penn. facility attained zero waste in 2021. By the end of 2022, SunOpta is targeting all 12 of its manufacturing facilities around the world to be zero waste to landfill.

SunOpta achieved zero waste to landfill at its two Alexandria facilities by reusing and recycling materials such as batteries, metals, oils, pallets, bulk bags and barrels. For example, SunOpta recycled 100,000 pounds of scrap metal, and additionally reused more than 11,000 pallets, which saved natural resources as well as costs.

“Anything that cannot be reused, recycled or upcycled is turned into energy to power the hospital, technical school, and manufacturing plant right in the community,” said Joe Gerhardt, plant manager at the SunOpta on Third Avenue in Alexandria. “We have trained ourselves to think and act with the 'zero waste' mindset to make sustainability a reality.”

“As a sustainable, plant-based food and beverage company, we’re proud to achieve this sustainability goal in Alexandria,” said Cody Emery, Minnesota Street plant manager, SunOpta. “Sustainability is personally important to me because I want to ensure all the natural resources around us in our beautiful state are here for my son and the next generation.”


In 2020, SunOpta made a $26 million investment to make oatmilk at its Third Avenue facility, underscoring the importance of the company’s presence in Alexandria. SunOpta has ambitious goals to double its plant-based business by 2025, with a significant focus on oatmilk.

For decades, SunOpta has collaborated with some of the most planet-friendly brands, including the largest coffee shop chain in the world, to supply oatmilk and other plant-based non-dairy alternatives.

Zero waste is just one of SunOpta’s sustainability goals. Earlier this year, it released its 2021 ESG report, outlining progress and a path forward across four key areas: products, planet, people and governance. The SunOpta sustainability strategy includes carbon emission savings, recyclable packaging, upcycling food waste and water conservation.

For more information, visit and LinkedIn.

Sunopta 8441.jpg
SunOpta workers celebrate the company's zero waste achievement on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.
Contributed photo

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
What To Read Next
Get Local