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Iconic haggis maker recycles 90% of its waste

Macsween, an award-winning haggis and black pudding brand based in Edinburgh, became one of the first food companies in Scotland to send zero waste to landfill earlier this year.

It has prioritised environmental sustainability as a key part of its business values and, for the past 10 years, has improved and systemised the ways it manages its effects on the environment, producing an annual sustainability report since 2008.

Its solid waste recycling rate increased to 90% between 2005 and 2010, and the business then explored ways to use the remaining waste that cannot be recycled. Along with its waste contractor, William Tracey, it identified that the creation of refuse-derived fuel (RDF) from the portion of residual waste it could not recycle was the last part of the jigsaw that allowed it to divert everything from landfill.

Macsween put in place a source segregation system for its recyclables several years ago. It uses a colour-coded system that allows for segregation of polythene/shrinkwrap and cardboard that are both baled and sent to William Tracey for further processing. Food is captured using 240-litre and 500-litre bins and sent to an anaerobic digestion facility.

Office waste is captured using floor boxes and placed in clear bags and stored in a 14-yard walk in container. This is then sent to the William Tracey MRF for further segregation and processing.

When staff join the company, a large part of their induction is about its environmental policy and how waste is managed: it is made clear that everyone has to take responsibility and how staff need to play their part. Employees are continually updated through the company’s website and newsletters on how they are performing against their zero waste targets, so that recycling and achieving environmental awareness form part of the Macsween culture.

James Macsween, joint managing director (pictured with other director Jo Macsween) says: “The benefits that drives us are moral ones, not necessarily financial ones. We have always been resource-efficient; three generations of the Macsween family have run our company and we are proud of the tradition, commitment to excellence and innovation demonstrated by our grandparents and parents. Prioritising environmental sustainability is a key value of our business. We are a business that leads, not one that follows, and the steps we make in relation to recycling demonstrates this.”

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