The Hershey Co. announced some good news for the environment today: three of its factories are now certified “Zero-Waste-to-Landfill” (ZWL).

The designation means routine manufacturing waste has been eliminated from landfill disposal, the company says. Two of the facilities are in Hershey, Pa., and the third is in Hazleton, Pa.

“We are proud of our role as stewards of the environment and of our progress in eliminating waste from our operations,” says Terence O’Day, senior v.p. of global operations at Hershey. “We achieved ZWL at these facilities through a rigorous process of eliminating waste, recycling and converting waste to energy.”

The company’s Hazleton plant is the most recent location to have achieved ZWL status. The two plants in Hershey became ZWL facilities in October 2011 and in 2010. These plants recycle approximately 90% of the waste generated from operations and the remainder is converted to energy at nearby waste-to-energy incinerators.

The certifications are just a part of Hershey’s ongoing sustainability efforts, which started as early as 1937 when founder Milton Hershey started the company’s first recycling center. The company has also added biogas capturing equipment at four of its U.S. facilities, which converts captured biogas produced through onsite wastewater treatment and converts it to energy.

Last year, Hershey unveiled two sets of solar arrays at facilities in Hershey, which generate an estimated 318 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year. The solar arrays also will eliminate hundreds of metric tons of greenhouse gases each year. In 2009, the company committed to reducing its green house gas emissions by 15% by the end of 2011 based on 2008 emission levels and is on track to achieve this goal by the end of the year.

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