The ‘Green’ road to Zero Landfill

Filed in Blog, Guest Posts by on April 22, 2010 2 Comments
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Mandy from Cawleys talks to us about Eco Eating

Mandy from Cawleys talks to us about Eco Eating

I first heard about Eco Eating on Twitter and have been fortunate enough to get in contact with Mandy Jacob who joined Cawleys in 2007 as a Business Development Executive. She deals with the day to day running of the food waste collection service.

Having gained a degree in Advertising & Marketing Communications, working in waste was the last place she expected to find herself. However, Cawleys is such a pioneering company with a great team who are passionate about what they do, she inevitably finds herself knee deep in rubbish (or food) and enjoying it!

Mandy has a little boy called Henry who will be 1 in May! Today she tells us all about Cawleys and their new Eco Eating venture.

When I sit at my desk and look out the window I am often confronted with the head of a pretty blonde floating past. It may sound like our offices are built on a hotbed of paranormal activity, but the pretty blonde is Mother Nature and forms part of the branding emblazoned on our food waste collection vehicles. This distinctive collection scheme is just one of the systems Cawleys have implemented in the quest for zero landfill!

When I joined Cawleys in July 2007 I instantly felt the buzz of being on the cusp of an exciting period in Cawleys’ history. Kate Cawley had just completed a total rebrand of Cawleys, introducing the tagline ‘Local recycling, global responsibility’, a reflection of the companies pro-active and innovative approach. Plans were also underway for improvements to the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Luton, renewable energy was becoming a hot topic and there was even talk of Cawleys partnering with a company that owns an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant to enable us to recycle our customers’ food waste.

Three years down the line and Cawleys is now the proud owner of a highly advanced MRF, with numerous high tech systems and recovery equipment, often referred to as a ‘dirty’ MRF. It may not sound attractive but it is actually quite unique in industry terms because it allows the recovery of further recyclables. Waste travels through the system on conveyer belts where equipment recovers the recyclable materials such as paper, card, plastic, metals, wood, and inert materials.

The £3million investment has played an instrumental part in Cawleys zero landfill culture. Whilst we encourage customers to segregate all recyclable streams on site, to maximise the materials recovered, opting to invest in a ‘dirty’ MRF allows recovery of waste streams that can inevitably slip through the recycling net. We like to think of it as recycling peace of mind – we can recover 60-85% of waste … and we are working on the rest!

The potential partnership with an AD plant has matured into a strong food waste recycling venture with BiogenGreenfinch. Through this partnership, Cawleys, were the first company to provide a commercial food waste recycling service to AD. The waste management industry is evolving and legislation is driving us to catch up with our European neighbours, so we need to be pro-active in problem solving; the incorporation of food waste recycling is vital to this.

The process is simple – food waste is segregated into the cornstarch bags and stored in a cart, both supplied by Cawleys. All forms of food including raw and cooked meats can be included. Our vehicle collects the waste and transfers it to BiogenGreenfinch’s AD plant where, by the very technical science of AD, the food waste is transformed into electricity for the national grid and organic fertiliser, used to grow crops. It is a great closed loop solution, allowing commercial industries to finally see that zero landfill is an attainable achievement. A whopping 2million KW of energy has been fed back to the national grid by Cawleys’ customers!

Cawleys have also recently launched Eco Eating, a green restaurant guide that enables our clients in the hospitality sector to shout about their green credentials and informs consumers about local restaurants that are actively engaging in green practice by recycling their food waste.

Whilst food waste recycling is a well oiled machine for us, it is still a fairly new venture within the industry and the call for more infrastructures and AD plants is still of concern. Working on best practice case studies with WRAP and the Institute of Hospitality, and commissioning our own research report Eco Eating: Consumer attitudes towards commercial food waste, helps us to highlight the importance of the issue.

In a society where green is the new black, it is no longer acceptable to ignore how we dispose of our waste. Having implemented the foundations for a greener footprint, Cawleys will continue to develop and innovate; continuing to advance our practices, develop key partnerships and work closely with our customer base to make the green dream a reality.

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (2)

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  1. Julie Day says:

    What a great company to work for. I wish all restaurants etc would do that. I know that some are in the country as I have heard about them on the TV.

  2. Poppy says:

    Sounds great, but our nearest appears to be in Milton Keynes, 100 miles away 🙁

    Hope the idea catches on 🙂

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