Food ingredients manufacturer Manchester Rusk Co. (MRC), has managed to reduce the waste it sends for landfill disposal by 70 tonnes a year - a cut equivalent to about 85 per cent of the waste it factory previously produced.
The reduction allowed the company to cut its waste disposal costs by £10,000 (about €7,900) a year. The programme was so successful that the company was recognised for its efforts when the Northwest Food Alliance, and industry organisation, gave it the top prize in the environment category.
The company was successful by "implementing an impressive range of measures that demonstrated best practice for reducing its environmental impact and becoming more resource efficient", the organisation stated in handing out the award.
Dave Wheeler, MRC's production manager, said the company began the cuts after realising its waste disposal system could be more efficient. Like many other companies, MRC faced rising disposal costs as EU environmental laws started coming into effect.
"As an environmentally aware business, we were determined to resolve those issues and we encouraged all employees to think again about waste matters by increasing their awareness of the benefits of recycling," Wheeler said in a statement. "Consequently, shop floor efficiency has increased, as has staff morale and site safety and we have reduced transport costs."
The Manchester Rusk is a private company that currently employs about 40 people at plant near Manchester. The business, which has been operating for 30 years, specialises in the production of glazes, marinades, coatings, seasonings and sauces for the food industry.
The company began its cuts by reducing the frequency of waste collected from its site to once a fortnight from once a week, thereby minimising CO2 emissions from vehicle movements. It also reduced the number of its general waste skips to one from two.
To achieve its goals, the company invested in a twin chamber baling machine for cardboard and plastic waste. It also segregated the materials using colour coded bins for on-site collection by the workforce before processing it with the baler.
MRC closely worked with environmental organisation Groundwork EBS Manchester, Salford and Trafford, which helped the company get grant funding for the baling equipment.
In addition, Waste Management Ltd. conducted a free waste audit to examine the scope for savings.
MRC operates from a new purpose-built headquarters and manufacturing facility complete with its own test kitchen and product development laboratory, in Manchester.
EU regulations require all member states to set targets for cutting down on the amount of manufacturing and packaging waste going to landfill through a series of measures promoting reduction, recovery and recycling.
The bloc also aims to achieve a unified regulatory system for packaged products in the EU, allowing companies to more easily trade across national borders. Different packaging regulations in the EU can serve to restrict or prevent market access.