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Bagel factory achieves zero waste to landfill

A food manufacturer has achieved zero waste to landfill and a cost-neutral waste system after working in partnership with a waste management company.

Starting in 2011, Maple Leaf Bakery worked with Biffa IRM to overhaul its resource management and increase recycling from 40% to 100% by the end of 2012.

This diverted 6,800 tonnes away from landfill and was achieved ahead of schedule.

Under the brand name New York Bagels, Maple Leaf claims to be the largest bagel producer in Europe and supplies over 90% of the UK market.

The company was previously generating up to 100 tonnes per month of non-segregated residual waste from its sites in Rotherham and Maidstone.

Now only 35 tonnes per month are being used to generate energy, and the remaining waste stream either prevented or recycled.

Biffa IRM said this should result in the recovery of revenue from recyclable materials worth more than £500,000 per annum on behalf of Maple Leaf.

Mark Jones, Maple Leaf Bakery head of health and safety, told MRW that there were five sites two years ago, but now there are only two.

He added that the recycling success had been achieved by “bringing it all under one umbrella.”

Simon Hamilton told MRW that the priorities of the initiative were to improve compliance and have “greater waste communications” at yard level as well as one company point of contact for all waste issues.

The main problem of reaching this was contamination of recyclables at ground level and having to educate employees on bin use, according to Hamilton.

Jones said the company spent £25,000 on bins in mid-2013 to make its offices have 100% recycling levels.

He said the next stage is to tackle refuse derived fuel coming from the sites in 2014 and improve line side recycling (LSR) to further reduce costs.

He added: “The ultimate aim is to have closed loop recycling.”


Recycling overhaul

Some of the initiatives delivered at the sites over 2012 were:

  • Dry mixed recycling
  • Baling of cardboard and polythene
  • Generating animal feed from the co-product
  • Negotiating quality rebates to Maple Leaf within a national strategic deal
  • Multilingual signage
  • Educational programmes to increase segregation  

One of the first steps to the partnership approach was to train ‘Waste Champions’ at each site. These Champions work closely with Biffa IRM’s contract managers to maximise source segregation.

Biffa IRM then installed a colour coded system at each site, with matching bins suitable for the safe storage and handling of materials.

The two companies jointly developed a new partnership with an animal feed supplier, which saw the installation of equipment for storing waste dough and redundant finished product.

There was 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.

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