Iowa PepsiCo Plant Uses State Grant to Reduce Landfill Waste, Energy Consumption

Dec 8, 2011 2:30 PM ET

Final state grants fuel East Iowa energy projects

Cedar Rapids, IA – The Iowa Power Fund is gone, but communities in Eastern Iowa continue to carry out the projects with its final funding to find smarter ways to use energy.

In Cedar Rapids, a sustainability alliance has businesses gathering to reduce landfill waste and energy consumption, with the Quaker plant showing the way.

Meanwhile, high school students in Decorah are learning to monitor energy savings while learning to garden and make biodiesel fuel.

The state set its sights on energy in 2007 when former Gov. Chet Culver signed into law the $100 million Iowa Power Fund to invest in research of renewable energy such as wind and ethanol.

Iowa’s Office of Energy Independence administered the fund and in 2008 started giving 4 percent of its yearly allotment to community projects to improve energy efficiency on a grass-roots level.

The last of the fund was assigned to projects earlier this year. The applicants for community grants narrowly escaped the chopping block as Gov. Terry Branstad canceled the Iowa Power Fund, dissolved the energy office and considered cutting the sought-after remains of the fund.

Kitty Edwards is the head of the Regional Sustainable Business Alliance funded by the Power Fund community grant program.

Edwards, purchasing manager at the Cedar Rapids Quaker plant, with the largest cereal mill in the world, is a self-proclaimed “trash queen.”

When PepsiCo, Quaker’s owner, set a corporate goal of reducing its landfill waste beginning in 2006, Edwards took on the challenge, assembling an eight-person green team within the plant.

One by one, she found ways to recycle the company’s waste. Edwards struck a deal with the manufacturers of wood pallets used in milling machinery, who now take back broken pallets and use them to make mulch.

Quaker reported earning more than $300,000 in 2010 for products otherwise destined for the landfill. Edwards said the plant reduced landfill waste by 10 percent in 2010, and by 35 percent in 2011, exceeding corporate goals. Next year, Edwards aims to achieve zero landfill waste. Continue reading about Iowa's sustainability efforts.     About PepsiCo 
PepsiCo offers the world's largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales each. Our main businesses -- Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay, and Pepsi Cola -- also make hundreds of other enjoyable foods and beverages that are respected household names throughout the world. With net revenues of approximately $60 billion, PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo's promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages for local tastes; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment, including by conserving energy and water usage, and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support, and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visit    PEPSI19461