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  • Hershey Sustainability product life cycle by Rachel Sternberg, Claire Gellis, Tom Laubach, Chris Barnish

    Many parts of a product life cycle do not come across as they appear. In the 7 step process,

    Research/Product Development, Marketing, Manufacturing, Packaging Sales/Transportation, Consumer

    Use, and Final Disposition, most are contributing to waste issues. We, as a society, are using up our

    resources at a much higher rate than it takes for them to be developed. Most pollution and waste issues

    are tracked back to the manufacturers. It all starts off in the research development. This is a very small

    portion of the process, and therefore does not contribute much to the waste. However, most of the

    time, the research and product development leads to waste of paper and other products used to display

    their ideas. Many companies waste money, supplies, energies, and resources on in store merchandising

    displays, packaging materials, pallets/other transportation mechanisms, specialty printing papers for

    advertising, and many other unnecessary products.

    The main part of the cycle starts off in their extraction process. This is where a company gets the

    supplies needed to create their product. Most companies take these materials from foreign countries

    and end up wiping out animals and their homes. Additionally, they end up polluting the water in the

    communities they take the supplies from. For example we looked into Hershey Chocolates. In order to

    create the perfect chocolate bar, Hershey needs several supplies and ingredients, including, sugar,

    cocoa, sweeteners, nuts, flavors, food grade chemicals and many more. Hershey gets their cocoa beans

    from West Africa where many recent child labor laws have been violated on their behalf. Hershey is

    increasingly growing along with the increase in demand of cocoa. As we buy more chocolate, more child

    labor laws are being neglected. (However, hopefully that will change soon. Recently, Hershey has agreed

    to ensure all of its cocoa will come from suppliers that follow the labor regulations by 2020).

    Furthermore, Hershey gets supplies from India, China and Brazil. However, when they can they try to

    support the local community. Hershey consumes between 300,000 and 350,000 gallons of milk a day

    from surrounding milk farms.

    Hershey is trying to eliminate all waste associated with the production lines. However, in the next step

    of the cycle, production, Hershey still contributes vast amounts of pollution. The process starts with the

    harvesting of cocoa beans. From there the company ferments and sun dries them before putting them

    in large sacks for delivery. Hershey transports these beans to factories by trains or trucks. In both of

    these cases, Hershey contributes a lot of pollution from the burning of fossil fuels. The beans then go

    through machinery which also contributes to the pollution and waste. Eventually the chocolate bars are

    wrapped in wrappers, which ultimately are thrown in landfills. These candy wrappers are made from a

    mixture of several different materials making it difficult to recycle.

    Hersheys chocolates have to go through multiple stages of transportation in its product life style. The

    cocoa beans used to make the chocolate are harvested in South America and have to be shipped to

    Hershey, PA to be used in the manufacturing process. Once the product is created, it must be shipped to

    70+ countries worldwide where the product is sold. This transportation process has profound impacts

    on the environment but creates many jobs. The emissions of trucks, planes, and boats pollute the air

    and help erode the ozone layer. This process requires truck drivers, boat captains, and pilots which help

    to create jobs on a global scale. Even though the transportation process is lengthy and causes pollution,

    it is critical to the life cycle of Hersheys products.

    One of the biggest impacts in the system is in the utilization stage. Consumers utilize the product, of

    course, by eating it. The real waste from this stage shows on waistlines. The average Hershey bar

    contains 24 grams of sugar, while the recommended daily value is 25. That means that when a person

  • Hershey Sustainability product life cycle by Rachel Sternberg, Claire Gellis, Tom Laubach, Chris Barnish

    eats a Hershey chocolate bar in 10 minutes, they consume almost all of their sugar limit for the whole

    day. It also contains 40% of the daily allowed value of saturated fat. Hersheys chocolate bars are a very

    popular item in the United States, and contribute to the ever-growing obesity problem. They are cheap,

    well-marketed, and generally seen as favorableespecially to children. Chocolate can even be

    considered addictive. Consuming it releases a chemical called serotonin, which increases happiness in

    the brain. This addictive nature combined with the ease of access make Hersheys chocolate a likely

    culprit for obesity and overconsumption.

    After the consumption phase, the chocolate is gone, but the wrapper is still there. The wrappers are

    almost always simply thrown away, if not littered on the ground by overexcited children on Halloween.

    Candy bar wrappers do not make a large enough volume to sort out from the rest of the trash, like

    bottles are, so they are simply left to go to landfills. However, they dont decompose in the landfill

    safely. Candy bar wrappers are generally laminated foils which are prepared by coating a paper base

    with wax, bonding a thin metal foil layer with an adhesive and dampening with a plastic solution. All

    these mixed materials are practically impossible to separate and reuse. While the consumer waste is

    high, the production end is working on reducing waste. Three of Hersheys manufacturing facilities in

    Pennsylvania, two in Hershey, Pennsylvania and one in Hazleton, have achieved Zero-waste-to-landfill

    status in the companys ongoing efforts to enhance sustainability. The company showed that they

    understood the importance of waste management and recycling. Hershey recycles approximately 90

    percent of the waste that is made from processing their product and the rest of the waste is converted

    to energy. Hershey strives to improve its recycling and energy efficiency programs in all their US plants.

    Implemented in four US facilities is the biogas capturing equipment. The equipment converts captured

    biogas into energy. Sustainability has been a top priority for Hershey since the early years. In 1937,

    before recycling was common, Hershey started the companys first recycling company. Hershey is

    constantly trying to improve its waste management and environmental sustainability programs for a

    more sustainable future. Although many companies, including Hershey, are contributing to pollution and

    waste during their product life cycle, Hershey is trying to become better about their process. Hopefully

    in the near future we start to see a change in all product life cycles!

  • Hershey Sustainability product life cycle by Rachel Sternberg, Claire Gellis, Tom Laubach, Chris Barnish

    Works Cited