When food is rescued and donated to Loaves & Fishes, it is transported to us in cardboard boxes, wooden pallets, and wrapped in plastic. Often, people ask what we do with these materials once the food has been unloaded, sorted, and distributed.
Loaves & Fishes is dedicated to making sustainable choices and participates in recycling programs. Both of our locations have a professional-grade baler where cardboard is flattened and baled weekly. The operations team produces 6-7 bales per week, and each bale contains approximately 1,200 lbs. of cardboard. The bales are sold, and the funds are returned to Loaves & Fishes. “In the last couple of years, the recycling value has continued to climb,” said Cary Gilkey, VP of Food Operations.
Wooden pallets are returned to grocery stores or sold for additional income. Plastic is collected weekly, averaging twelve large recycling bags that are donated to the City of Naperville Recycling Program, where it becomes part of a larger volume of reusable plastics.
We are tremendously grateful to Gene Larcker, owner of Larcker Recycling Services, Inc., who donated a new baler to our Food Distribution Hub. Additionally, for the last eleven years, he has donated the expensive baling wires used to tie each bale.
40% of all food in America is wasted. Loaves & Fishes continues to do its part to correct this issue through food rescue. The food we rescue results primarily from overproduction or being close to its sell-by date. It is brought to our Food Distribution Hub, where volunteers diligently sort it prior to distribution. 60% of the food we provide comes from our grocery partners.
Loaves & Fishes works hard to make choices that positively impact our environment while being careful stewards of our resources. Doing our part to save the planet while saving dollars for Loaves & Fishes is a win-win for everyone!