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A tasty partnership

Being creative with your waste can deliver zero waste to landfill at no extra cost. Robin Chambers general manager of Biffa IWM, reports

Since 2011, Maple Leaf Bakery, a speciality company with plants in South Yorkshire and Kent producing bagels, croissants and in-store bakery products, has been working in partnership with Biffa’s integrated waste management (IWM) team on an overhaul of its resource management practices.

Maple Leaf gave Biffa IWM creative license to deliver maximum value from every waste stream generated across its UK bakery sites. Today, Maple Leaf is not only achieving zero waste to landfill but has gone one better.

Mark Jones, head of health and safety at the bakery, explains: “The two companies have built up a close working relationship which has helped to push each site from a general waste-dependant site to a zero cost and zero waste to landfill site, which is a great achievement.”

Biffa now recycles and diverts from landfill more than 6,800 tonnes of waste, recycling and co-product across all UK sites and is paying Maple Leaf each month to handle its waste contract. By implementing innovative and rigorous systems at each site, Biffa recovered revenue from recyclable materials worth a substantial amount on behalf of the bakery.

Some of the initiatives delivered over 2012 included: dry mixed recycling; baling of cardboard and polythene; generating animal feed from the co-product; negotiating rebates from material sales to the bakery within a national strategic deal; multi-lingual signage; and educational programmes to increase segregation.

One of the first steps to the partnership approach was to train ‘waste champions’ at each site to work closely with Biffa’s contract managers to maximise source segregation. Regular meetings between Biffa, the champions and leadership teams were designed to share ideas as a working group, which could then be taken back to site level and shared with other employees.

Following the success of the recycling initiative, Biffa and Maple Leaf Bakery looked into alternatives for the waste food generated on-site. They developed a partnership with an animal feed supplier, which saw the installation of state-of-the-art equipment for storing waste dough and redundant finished product. 

Not only did this equipment reduce spillages, but it enabled Biffa to negotiate a 100% increase in the value of the material, by generating a co-product rather than a waste. All packaged food waste is also now being recovered, further diverting materials of value from the disposal chain.

On-site technology measures the waste co-product being generated and sends data back to each line to track the level of wastage. This information is available down to shift level, meaning the company can pinpoint opportunities to reduce waste further. 

The equipment also monitors the weight of co-product arising, meaning that the payloads of vehicles leaving the site can be maximised. This not only reduces the carbon emissions from resource management practices, but has also reduced the number of vehicles on-site, improving health and safety for the workers. 


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