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Olives: Yummy trash-makers.

We don’t think about what happens during the food manufacturing process. At least it’s not something that’s top-of-mind for me. Consider olives, for example. They are yummy. They get used in a variety of dishes. Personally, I love cooking with them. And yet I never considered the fact that there are lots of pits created and left over during the canning process. Most companies just throw them out, sticking them into a landfill, however one company has found a way to convert the more than 15 tons of olive pits it ends up with each year into to carbon-neutral heat energy.

According to Musco Family Olive Co., which was recently awarded the honor of California 2011 Leader in Innovation in Energy and Agriculture by industry group Grow-California (it received the “Game Changer of the Year” Award in the category of Innovation in Energy and Agriculture), the company takes its pits and burns them. “Energy from the pits is used to evaporate waste water and to drive the largest industrial steam engine in the United States, at Musco’s Tracy, Calif. headquarters,” according to a company press release. Significant, since the company recycles more than 90 percent of its waste water to begin with.

This is huge because Musco Family Olive is one of the biggest olive suppliers in the U.S. garnering about 55 percent of the total marketshare. Musco buys nearly half of the 29,000 acre California olive crop, contracting with more than 250 growers.

Whenever I hear about a company that’s making big changes for the environment, I’m happy. When I see something like this — so large scale, so impactful — I’m really happy. Musco Family Olive is preventing 15 tons of garbage from ending up in a landfill. It is reducing its need for on-the-grid energy. It’s reducing the need for fresh water in an area that’s got an overtaxed water system. Bravo, Musco Family Olive! Hope more manufacturers take your lead.

2 Responses to “Olive Pits Equal Steam, Heat Energy”

  1. [...] According to Musco Family Olive Co., which was recently awarded the honor of California 2011 Leader in Innovation in Energy and Agriculture by industry group Grow-California (it received the ‘Game Changer of the Year’ Award in the category of Innovation in Energy and Agriculture), the company takes its pits and burns them. ‘Energy from the pits is used to evaporate waste water and to drive the largest industrial steam engine in the United States, at Musco’s Tracy, Calif. headquarters,’ according to a company press release. We don’t think about what happens during the food manufacturing process. At least it’s not something that’s top-of-mind for me. Consider olives, for example. They are yummy. They get used in a variety of dishes. Personally, I love cooking with them. And yet I never considered the fact that there are lots of pits created and left over during the canning process. Most companies just throw them out, sticking them into a landfill, however one company has found a way to convert the more than 15 tons of olive pits it ends up with each year into to carbon-neutral Heat Energy. [...]

  2. [...] We don’t think about what happens during the food manufacturing process. At least it’s not something that’s top-of-mind for me. Consider olives, for example. They are yummy. They get used in a variety of dishes. Personally, I love cooking with them. And yet I never considered the fact that there are lots of pits created and left over during the canning process. Most companies just throw them out, sticking them into a landfill, however one company has found a way to convert the more than 15 tons of olive pits it ends up with each year into to carbon-neutral Heat Energy. [...]

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