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Investment in waste: Paul Featherstone, SugaRich

Every successful business needs to take steps to limit or mitigate risk, whether political, economic or environmental. For example, risk is an important issue to consider when deciding the right time to finance new equipment and technology.

My organisation, which recycles surplus food into quality animal feed, operates a large fleet of trucks and trailers which can’t be “run into the ground’”. There are several aspects to consider when it comes to machinery and equipment.

Questions to consider include - What is the risk of running equipment for longer? If I change equipment will this still be the right kit in three or five years?

The risk and management of funding investment is also key. SugaRich has a good financial track record, so despite the banking crisis and ever greater constraints of lending, we have always managed to secure additional investment funding when required, other businesses are not so lucky.

On a European regulatory level, my industry sector is seeking clarification around the status of former foodstuffs, to make it clear that former foodstuffs of plant origin are by-products and not legal waste. Operators depend on national governments to correctly interpret this secondary resource as a ‘by-product’ according to article 5 of the Waste Framework Directive.

This leaves significant legal uncertainty for both food manufacturers and former foodstuff processors and can cause unnecessary disruptions and very real business risks.

A clear harmonised position for our industry sector would reduce business risk and, as a result, barriers preventing investment in the safe use and re-use of food in food and feed chains would be removed

Despite the risks inherent in a global recession and subsequent economic uncertainty, SugaRich has continued to invest in information technology systems as these can be one of the most effective approaches to reducing operational waste.

We recently launched SugaTrak, which is a technology tool for reducing food manufacturing waste at source, enabling managers to pinpoint the causes of waste and reduce it at source, keep surplus food in the food chain, and save money on treatment and disposal.

For businesses seeking efficient ways to reduce their waste and identify the highest value outlets for unavoidable excess, a small investment can go a long way.

Paul Featherstone, group director, SugaRich

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