In other words, is it really possible to achieve zero food waste or is this merely a tantalising vision, always just beyond the grasp of the manufacturer?
A number of companies have achieved zero waste to landfill, including Sunny Delight, who are reported in FoodEngineering’s online magazine to be celebrating five years of maintaining this feat. Miller Coors is another company who have achieved this at seven of their largest installations.
Zero Waste to Landfill – An Achievable Goal
That doesn’t mean they’re not generating any waste, though. They are, but Miller Coors, for example, is sending non-recyclable waste to a facility that turns it into energy. So zero waste may not be achievable, but zero waste to landfill certainly is, as large food processors such as Mars and Nestlé are increasingly demonstrating.
However, these companies did not achieve this overnight. Almost all of them recommend an incremental approach in which companies start by collecting data on their waste and then redesign processes to minimise it. This may involve supplying special bins for various kinds of waste and talking to local recycling companies. You can also use ideas from the major suppliers. For example, Unilever has a newsletter and a phone app “Wise up on waste” aimed at helping professional kitchens to reduce food waste.
Better Equipment Needn’t Cost the Earth
Process redesign may require investment in new food processing technology, and many companies may feel that with fierce competition in the industry this is something they can’t afford. However, more efficient equipment need not be prohibitively expensive if you buy used food machinery. Buying used means that it is possible to afford more efficient machines that can help companies reach their “zero waste” goal more quickly and at a lower cost. One of the most cost-effective ways to do this is to buy used food machinery from Clarke Fussells, who specialise in this area and run regular live auctions online.
Don’t forget also that it’s really important to get employees on board. They are often able to provide both enthusiasm and innovative ideas when it comes to recycling and reducing waste. Rewarding staff suggestions and giving recognition to employees who have come up with great ideas can help to foster a positive attitude to the waste reduction campaign.