Greener credentials reduce overheads for F&B manufacturers
With annual energy savings of around £100,000 from converting daily 200,000 litres of liquid residues into renewable energy, Nestlé leads the way in sustainable manufacturing. I believe that the UK food and beverage industry can learn a lot from Nestlé. Why? Because Nestlé ’s sustainable approach to handling residues is reducing costs by converting them into energy.
Results from the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (analysis of economic, environmental and social performance) show Nestlé to be one of the greenest food production companies, scoring an industry best of 99% in the environmental sector, which includes Nestlé’s innovative on-site water and effluent management practices.
The Dow Jones Sustainability World Index was launched in 1999 – the first global sustainability benchmark. It serves as benchmarks for investors who integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios and provides a platform for companies who want to adopt sustainable best practice.
Nestlé’s success is due in no small part to the anaerobic digestion (AD) plant designed and installed by Clearfleau at their Fawdon site in Newcastle. Our high-rate liquid-based digestion plant, with its innovative solids-processing system and compact design, sits neatly on the edge of their factory site.
We are also working with Diageo and First Milk, helping them to address inefficiencies in their treatment of production residues. On-site digestion is helping them become more efficient and competitive by converting production residues into sustainable energy.
Understandably food companies are focused on getting their products on to retail shelves. Some may be unwilling to recognise the extent of their production residues. However, every food and beverage supplier we talk to has residues with potential for on-site AD, be it whey from cheese production, pot ale from a distillery or discards from food processors. All can be converted into energy that can be fed back into the factory.
There’s little doubt that the circular economy and a focus on low-carbon manufacturing is part of the future. Scotland has banned biodegradable food waste sent to landfill (or to sewer) and Wales is following suit. It is about time the UK Government did the same.
Food and beverage companies now need to think differently about how they manage production residues. They can learn from Nestlé. They are a step ahead of most other UK food and beverage manufacturers.
Nestlé is fulfilling its sustainable zero-waste commitment, guaranteeing its UK factories will no longer send waste to landfill by the end of 2015. Prior to the installation of our on-site AD system, Nestlé’s confectionery site at Fawdon near Newcastle was discharging trade effluent to the sewer and its solid residues were taken off site.
Now, Fawdon is an exemplar site for Nestlé (which is why it has been recognised by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The company is happy to show other British food manufacturers how they too can generate energy from food residues and how, what was once a processing overhead is now a valuable financial and environmental asset.
As energy prices continue to climb, the case for food and drinks manufacturers to generate value from effluents and residues becomes even more compelling – particularly given the UK’s stringent water industry regulations. In fact, two sites in Scotland now discharge clean waters from our AD plants into the river Spey, famous as a salmon-fishing river.
Combining energy extraction with grey water recycling, based on an on-site AD plant can deliver a double benefit to manufacturers: minimising carbon and water footprints, whilst boosting CSR credentials.
We work in a range of industry sectors (including bio-fuels and health care) with biodegradable residues. We are happy to work with SMEs, to develop bespoke solutions such as modular plants for confined sites. We can advise on staged replacement of outdated equipment, minimise disruption to your production process and provide financial support packages for companies that require off balance sheet solutions.
To find out how you could reduce your carbon footprint and offer a greener profile to your customers/investors call us today or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.