Global Recycling Day
March 18th 2019 marks Global Recycling Day, a day which was created to recognise the importance of recycling and our planet. This year’s theme is based around the “power of youth, education and innovation” and encourages people, businesses and communities to show their support for recycling. Read below to learn some surprising recycling facts, tips for better recycling and how we at Fosters Bakery, recycle, reduce our energy usage and waste.
A lot of what we use can either be re-used or recycled. Check out these videos from Recycle Now. I bet you didn’t know baking ingredients could be recycled into electricity!
5 surprising facts about recycling and waste
In 2016, the UK generated 222.9 million tonnes of total waste and 85% of that was made up by England. That equates to around 189.5 million tonnes of waste.
In 2017, the UK recycling rate for waste from households was 45.7% and there is an EU target for the UK to recycle a minimum of 50% of household waste by 2020.
New research has shown that we have produced plastic as heavy as 1 billion elephants since the 1950s and only 9% of this has been recycled. Plastic can end up in oceans through blowing away into rivers, going down the drain, being left on beaches and more. Scientists have estimated that 12 million tonnes of plastic enters our oceans every year!
It is estimated that the amount of plastic which we are throwing away will increase by over 1 million tonnes in the next 11 years. This is the same as 87,000 more double decker buses of waste.
It was predicted that in 2018, the UK would use 10.8 billion wet wipes, 16.5 billion pieces of plastic cutlery, 42 billion straws and 4.1 billion single-use drink cups and lids.
Tips for better recycling
After speaking to some plastic experts, Which have come up with some tips for better recycling:
Screw lids back onto plastic bottles and push straws back into the carton before recycling. Lids and straws on their own can be too small to recycle.
Squash your bottles. By doing this, you are reducing space needed which in turn reduces their carbon footprint but it also prevents them rolling off conveyor belts.
Recycle plastic film and carrier bags at the big recycle bins in supermarkets.
Empty and rinse packaging off food waste before recycling, this helps to prevent contamination of other materials which would then make it un-recyclable.
How do we recycle and conserve energy at Fosters Bakery?
Recycling and reducing energy usage is very important at Fosters Bakery, not only from a business perspective in terms of money saving but also for the environment. As a commercial business, we recognise our environmental impact and therefore do what we can to recycle our materials and cut down our energy usage, whether that is by altering our light bulbs or re-using broken machinery.
Changing lights within the offices and bakery
We have now modified 90% of the lights within the bakery and the office. We have changed them to LED lights which has saved a lot of energy. LED lighting is beneficial in many ways as it tends to have a longer lifespan than traditional lighting and generally consume a low amount of power. This is great from a environmental perspective but also from a business and cost-saving one.
Recycle, recycle and recycle!
A lot of products can be recycled and as a commercial business, we have a lot of equipment within the bakery, whether that’s electronic items, baking trays or waste packaging, we recycle what we can. We have separate areas for different products, we have paper bins in the office, a scrap metal ship and large bins outside the bakery for recyclables.
Our in-house engineering team also save parts of old-machinery in case it can be re-used within another machine. Any metal which is completely unusable gets sent to a scrap metal recycling company.
We are in the process of switching to a more technological approach within the bakery. We have significantly cut down on the amount of paper we use in the offices as most of our work is completed on computer systems. We are currently transitioning some of our processes which use paper to electronic tablets, when this is fully implemented and up and running smoothly, we will be able to reduce the paper we use massively.
Saving on transport
For our waste which cannot be recycled, these skip collections were every 2 weeks. This has now decreased to 3 weeks as we are recycling more and therefore filling up our general waste bins less. This is beneficial as there is less time and energy wasted coming to pick up our waste and from a cost-saving perspective as we are also saving on landfill costs.
using waste bread for animal feed
There are a few reasons why we are unable to send our products to consumers. Waste within the food industry is a problem and there are many ways of utilising leftover bread or baked goods. We have even discussed how to reduce bread waste within your home and business in another blog post.
Some of the reasons why our products might not be fit for sale include: it is misshapen or does not fit the specification, it is damaged either in the production or wrapping process or it may have been sliced incorrectly.
So that this bread is not wasted, we send our bread to farmers who then use it for animal feed. This works well as it means are products are not being wasted! Also, our products are dispatched frozen which can reduce waste on the consumer end of the business as they can just take out the bread as and when they need it.