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Efficiency Initiative of the Year: Premier Foods and Biffa IWM

For the past 18 months, Premier Foods, one of the UK’s largest food manufacturers, has been making sweeping efficiency changes to the management of its waste resources.

The original inspiration for the changes came when Biffa IWM began managing the waste from a Premier Foods jam factory in Cambridge. Recognising the high calorific value of the sugary by-product, the company was able to sell the waste for energy generation in an anaerobic digestion facility rather than paying for its disposal.

This shift in practice saw the site generating £80,000 per year from its energy-rich feedstock. Fast-forward to 2013 and a growing number of sites are making dramatic changes to their waste management practices. With two company-wide targets for the end of this year - zero waste to landfill and zero net spend on waste management - IWM’s integrated team of Contract Managers are helping Premier Foods identify and bring about efficiency savings throughout its UK operations.

Not satisfied with the option to send non-recyclable waste for incineration, Premier Foods are looking further up the waste hierarchy, addressing their supply chain and operational procedures to maximise resource efficiency. For example, Hovis found that by replacing a raw ingredient, it could eliminate a troublesome LDPE waste stream that couldn’t be recycled due to food residue.

The Judges said: “This is a brilliant project that, through its analysis of the supply chain led to a simple but effective solution and excellent resource efficiency.”


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