Burke Corporation, a provider of fully cooked meat products, was awarded the Governor’s Iowa Environmental Excellence Award for water quality improvements.

The award is the result of Burke’s Water Reduction Initiative, which has saved 20 million gallons between 2009 and 2011. Burke Corporation received its award for success in environmental sustainability from Governor Terry Branstad in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 1.

“By improving our water usage efficiencies, we avoided using 20 million gallons of water—a 42 percent savings in terms of pounds produced per gallon of water,” James Stevens, Environmental Supervisor and Project Engineer, says. “The entire plant made it happen.”

Employees contributed many ideas for water conservation. Water reduction projects accounted for half the water savings. The other half was saved by employees changing their behaviors and reducing their water use. “This efficiency saves the company money, which allows Burke to hold prices in check for our customers,” Stevens says.

Burke’s Water Reduction Initiative is part of a larger environmental sustainability effort, which includes increased recycling efforts throughout the plant, reduction in the need for disposable products through the process, and utilizing environmentally friendly inks. Burke has previously been awarded the Environmental Tier 3 Pioneer Award from American Meat Institute for its sustainability efforts.