ConAgra Foods Inc., Omaha, Neb., said it recognized several of its internal groups and operations for  sustainable business practices, waste elimination and resource conservation.

ConAgra gave aClimate Change & Energy Efficiencyaward to its Milton, Pa., operation for applying a ceramic coating to its cooker shells. Officials say the project reduced natural gas use by 27,070 MMBTU and reduced the temperature of plant machinery -- improving employee safety. Elsewhere, ConAgra's Gilroy, Calif., site earned a Water Resources-Conservation & Wastewater Managementaward for saving nearly 146 million gallons of water in less than one year and reducing overall water use by 34 percent.

ConAgra's Archbold, Ohio, plant won an award forSolid Waste Reduction & Recycling. A new grassroots program there recycled more than 1,000 tons of material in six months, while improving employee safety by eliminating the need for a cardboard baler. Meanwhile, the company's in-house Research, Quality & Innovation team earned aSustainable Marketingaward for its use of recycled PET in frozen meal trays. Officials expect the project to annually divert more than eight million pounds of waste from landfills.

ConAgra also gave aSustainable Marketingaward to its Kennewick, Wash., potato plant for (1) communicating its farm-to-plant-to market sustainability performance and (2) purchasing Renewable Energy Credits that offsett energy use at its administrative offices and nearby plants.

Comany plants in Helm and Oakdale, Calif., also earned"Sustainability Award of Excellence"recognition. Oakdale decreased natural gas use by more than 30 billion BTUs and recovered more than 19 million gallons of condensate water during fiscal 2008 production. Helm improved production energy "intensity" by 9 percent, officials said.

In other news, ConAgra said it hiredBrett Groomas vice president of media, digital and social marketing for consumer foods brands. Groom previously was chief digital officer for W.B. Doner Advertising, Southfield, Mich. He will manage ConAgra's on- and offline media, Web sites, public relations and two-way dialog with consumers -- including experiential marketing.