Green projects proving earners for cereal and snack makers, report

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Recycling Waste

Cereal, bakery and snack makers are increasingly working to reduce their carbon footprint, reaping cost savings in the process and plugging into new business opportunities, according to a new report from UK industry representatives, the FDF.

Data compiled by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) for the second review of its Five-fold Environmental Ambition programme indicate that its members are on target to meet the aspiration of a 30 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020.

The Federation said its members are also making a significant contribution to achieve an absolute reduction in the level of packaging reaching households by 2010 compared to 2006 and providing more advice to consumers on how best to recycle or otherwise recover used packaging.

The FDF’s Five-fold programme was launched in 2007 to help define how the UK's largest manufacturing sector could make a difference to the environment.

Separation techniques

The report highlights how the Jordans & Ryvita company’s approach to waste management has resulted in a reduction in the amount of waste from its Stockport manufacturing site sent to landfill by 96 per cent through the replacement of seven different waste contractors with just one and focusing on recycling packaged food products into constituent parts, namely food, cardboard and plastic.

The FDF review notes that the food element is removed from packaging by a series of mechanical processes and typically ends up in animal feed.

And packaging, it states, is separated in-house and recovered using ‘jet shredder’ waste technologies which separate film, carton and foodstuffs, all of which can then be recycled separately, while all plastics are recovered for recycling as well as metals and hazardous waste.

“As well as being good for the environment, this work has created clear business benefits for Ryvita. The costs associated with disposing of waste have reduced by 50 per cent since late 2007. In addition, recycling food waste, card, plastic and metal has also generated a significant revenue stream,”​ states the review.

Using your loaf

The report also shows that bread manufacturer, Warburtons, with the launch of its ‘mid sized’ loaf, helped to reduce packaging usage as well as food waste.

The company’s 600g loaf was made possible due to a change in European law enabling bread to be baked in different sizes from the traditional 800g and 400g packs, and Warburtons was the first branded baker in the UK to launch products in the 600g size.

The industry group added that the UK bread maker is reviewing all of its existing packaging in light of its objectives under the Courtauld Commitment.

And the FDF review of the industry’s green ambitions reports how Muesli specialist Alara Wholefoods is the first food company to have obtained zero waste certification following its efforts to ensure nothing is sent to landfill or incineration from its factory in King’s Cross, London.

The small producer said it is aim to become carbon neutral by 2010 through further staff training, further modification of its recycling systems and the introduction of an anaerobic digester.

Spare tyres

The FDF reports that better utilisation of vehicles, training drivers, sharing transport with others in the food industry are proving cost effective as they result in significant reductions in a company’s transport needs.

Nestlé’s collaboration with United Biscuits resulted in both food companies reducing the empty running of vehicles by more than 280,000 km since 2007, states the report.

And the FDF review notes that Nestlé has developed a ‘linked journey’ operating policy, which minimises the proportion of vehicles on the road and the number of journeys needed. “As a result, the company has achieved less than 12 per cent empty-running of its fleet, compared to a 24 per cent industry average.”

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