Waste prevention at Magna’s Sonora Forming Technologies in Hermosillo, Mexico means that no garbage goes to landfills and everything is recycled or reused.

Sixty-six tons of organic waste a year, everything from apple cores to banana peels, is shipped to a local farm, where it is transformed into compost, a process that results in an organic fertilizer for agricultural use.

Another 622 tons of inorganic trash, such as paper and packaging material, is collected annually and used as an alternative fuel by two local companies that produce cement.

But the conservation effort doesn’t stop with the company’s 1,200 employees.

Their children, ages 6 to 12, are invited to an annual summer camp at the plant, where they learn how to compost, how to plant and care for trees, and why it’s important to take care of the planet. Eighty of them attended the most recent event.

“When the camp is over, the children say they want to learn even more about the environment,” said Fernando Cortes Guerrero, the facility’s environmental specialist.

His daughter Maria Fernanda attended the camp when she was 12, and now helps with composting at home.

Starting in 2020, a new environmental certification program will begin here to train all employees how to bring the waste- prevention practices they learned at Magna into their homes. They will be taught how to separate and recycle garbage as part of a larger green initiative started by the state government.

Guerrero said it took eight years to get Sonora’s zero-waste-to-landfill program up and running. The three-step process included making an inventory of the waste, coming up with a plan to reduce and then reuse the waste.

“The biggest challenge was explaining the program to the employees,” he said. “It took about three months to train and to educate people about the use of special containers for segregating waste properly.”

While the program costs slightly more than conventional garbage disposal, Guerrero said that wasn’t the only consideration.

“We did it for the environment,” he explained. “It is the right thing to do.”

It took about three months to train and to educate people about the use of special containers for segregating waste properly.