Trade food waste collection case studies


Courtesy of Ecosack

In the continuing effort to separate food waste from the landfill stream, councils are looking to the viability of collecting trade food waste

Carmarthenshire Council is among the most proactive of councils looking at tackling this problem. Using Ecosack 25L Paper Sacks for food waste they are successfully collecting a large volume from local businesses.

Karen McNeill, Waste and Recycling Manager for Carmarthenshire Council says that the reason they chose to collect the waste in paper sacks is to reduce contamination. The emphasis is on the collection crews to ensure that the correct liner is used and, with paper there can be no confusion between biodegradable and degradable or non-degradable plastics. Only a quick glance in the bin identifies the paper liner.

Furthermore it ties in with their policy for domestic food waste collections which also specifies only paper liners. The waste is currently sent to an IVC facility but the council can be confident that even if an alternative AD plant is used, the paper is 100% compostable and biodegradable without the doubts regarding the degradability of cornstarch in the Anaerobic Digestion process.

Morgans Traditional Chippy

Carmarthen Mr. Morgan runs a 320-seat Fish & Chip Restaurant in the center of Carmarthen. He admits that, while he is of course very environmentally aware, he must look on waste segregation as a business decision. Therefore it must not only be easy and convenient to use but it must also save him money. He thinks the system using Ecosack paper sacks is extremely good.

The council is currently collecting 12 full 25L paper sacks in a 140L wheelie bin each week from the shop thereby diverting about 560 kg of food waste from landfi ll every month.

The Emlyn Arms Hotel, Newcastle Emlyn

Ian Jones is the Head Chef at the 300 years old former Coaching Inn nestled in the Teify Valley in West Wales. He is responsible for the 50-seat restaurant and 200 seat Function Room. Ian agrees that simplicity and convenience is key when getting kitchen staff to routinely segregate waste. At the moment the hotel is being renovated so they have a reduced occupancy but they still fi ll 3 of Ecosack’s 25L paper sacks with food waste every day.

Therefore, even in this well managed kitchen where food waste is kept to a minimum, the council are still able to divert more than half a ton of food waste from landfill every month.

Peniel Primary School, Carmarthen

Peniel School is a primary school with 120 pupils, which is very proud of its green credentials and proactively encourages the children to care for the environment. All of the food waste is separated including leftovers from the children’s plates.

The kitchen staff were proud of their success in separating food waste and say it is made even easier by the introduction of Ecosack’s 25L paper sacks. The cook says that they are far more user friendly than any form of plastic that they have had in the past.

The construction of the paper sack means it is free standing so no caddies are necessary and the children are able to clearly see that the waste is being collected in a natural product. The teaching staff says that this encourages them to ask questions of the way their food waste is dealt with at home. Handling of food waste in the kitchen becomes easier when the paper sacks can be used with, or without a caddy. Kitchen staff at Peniel School said the paper sacks are far more user friendly and easier to handle than any type of plastic sacks.
2 plies of wet strength paper mean that even the wettest of food waste can be cleanly and effi ciently collected. Furthermore, the natural breathability of paper means that the food waste will actually begin drying out inside the bag.

Carmarthenshire County Council collects food waste from 72 traders and schools throughout the county. They currently provide Ecosack 25 L Paper Sacks free of charge and hope to continue this if uptake continues to increase. Food waste is collected weekly in a 140 L wheelie bin and they are currently diverting 10 to 12 tonnes from landfi ll every month, which is processed through IVC to create compost.

Paper sacks gives benefits for all

  • Schools and business: With the removal of food waste the residual waste is lessened requiring fewer collections and therefore less cost. The cycle of well managed paper from sustainable tree planting to compost is easily understood by children in schools without the concern of food crops being used for non food production.
  • The Environment: The food waste is recycled to create compost, or can be utilized to create energy.
  • The Council: By diverting food waste from landfill the council saves on cost per ton to landfill.

Why paper sacks

  • Paper is from a renewable resource – trees – and doesn’t depend on any crops which could otherwise be used for food
  • All paper used is from cultivated forests which absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen - this is not achieved in the manufacture of any alternative sack
  • All paper used is from a fully approved Forestry Stewardship
  • The paper we use is made from tree flakes from parts of the tree that would otherwise be wasted and from process waste from the timber industry
  • Both paper and sacks are environmentally certified to EN13432

Our thanks to Carmarthenshire Council for their valued assistance in producing this study. Also thanks to Morgans Traditional Chippy, Carmarthen; The Emlyn Arms Hotel, Newcastle Emlyn, and to Peniel School, Carmarthen.

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