CDPHE News: Environmental Leadership Program Honors Leprino Foods Company with 2019 24-Karat Gold Award

DENVER – Colorado’s Environmental Leadership Program has awarded Leprino Foods Company the 2019 24-Karat Gold Award for its extraordinary commitment to protecting the environment at its Greeley, Colorado manufacturing facility. The facility has invested millions of dollars in combined heat and power onsite and has developed an innovative water reuse program that ultimately generates more water than the company uses.

Administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Environmental Leadership Program recognizes Gold Leader members who have gone above and beyond to create and implement a program or initiative that has made a measurable contribution to the environment, the economy, and the community. The 24-Karat Gold Award winner is selected by Gold Leader peers.

The department presented Leprino Foods’ Greeley team the award today during the 20th Annual Environmental Leadership Program Awards ceremony at Infinity Park Event Center in Glendale.

Environmental stewardship at the company’s Greeley plant began as soon as it purchased the site. The land was once home to the Great Western Sugar Factory, and the contaminated property had become an eyesore. Leprino Foods, the largest producer of mozzarella cheese in the world, remediated the contamination and redeveloped the property. The site is now home to a state-of-the-art facility that employs nearly 500 employees.

Leprino Foods didn’t stop there. In the past few years, they have invested approximately $22 million on a combined heat and power system that uses natural gas to generate power and heat onsite, a much less carbon-intensive alternative that will reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 10 percent.

The company also developed a water reuse system. Cow’s milk is nearly 90 percent water, so the company recovers that at the end of cheesemaking and whey processing, treats it, and then reuses it for cleaning and utility purposes. The plant treats the water one more time before discharging it back into the Cache La Poudre River. In the end, the Greeley facility generates 300,000 gallons more water than it uses every day.

Whether it’s LED lighting retrofits or a wastewater digester that helps provide electricity to the facility while significantly reducing waste disposal, nearly every aspect of Leprino Foods’ Greeley operations is designed with the environment in mind.

“We see Global Responsibility as a guidepost for our uncompromising ethical commitment to our stakeholders and society at large,” said Adam Wylie, Leprino Foods’ associate director of environment and global responsibility. “It reflects our long-held belief in doing things the right way. We believe it benefits everyone when we spend our time, money, and talent on being responsible stewards of the social, environmental, and economic needs of our communities.” 

About Leprino Foods

Leprino Foods Company, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, is a global leader in the production of premium-quality cheese and dairy ingredients. Leprino Foods is the largest producer of mozzarella cheese in the world and a leading manufacturer of lactose, whey protein, and sweet whey. For more information, please visit

About the Environmental Leadership Program

This statewide environmental recognition program offers benefits and incentives to members who voluntarily go beyond compliance with state and federal regulations and who are committed to continual environmental improvement. It is open to all Colorado businesses, industries, offices, educational institutions, municipalities, government agencies, communities, nonprofits, and other organizations.

Organizations work through three levels of membership: Bronze, Silver and Gold. For a complete list of organizations with Bronze, Silver and Gold designations and summaries of their environmental efforts, please contact Lynette Myers, Environmental Leadership Program manager, at, or visit the department’s Environmental Leadership Program website.


By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.