Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Food and drink manufacture

Potato company cuts costs by reducing its environmental impact

A potato packing and distribution company based in Scotland has demonstrated that good environmental management makes good business sense.

Taypack Potatoes (part of Taylors Food Group) is a family-owned company of around 180 staff that supplies potatoes from its facility in Perthshire to food outlets and wholesalers across the UK and Europe.

The company supplies ASDA – its biggest customer - with 40% of the supermarket chain’s fresh potatoes and has an annual turnover of £31 million.

Taypack has introduced a number of resource efficiency measures to reduce its impact on the environment and now recycles 95% of its waste. They recycle waste potatoes as animal feed and have introduced polythene and cardboard recycling schemes to reduce the cost of mixed waste removal and landfill charges.

They have also invested £250,000 in a water treatment plant which has reduced the volumes of wastewater transported off site. This enables the company to remove solid residue from dirty water after washing potatoes, which is then sold as good quality topsoil.

“The recycling facility at Taypack is now bigger than our waste facility,” said Matt Dunmore, engineering development manager at Taypack. “We have more recycling skips leaving our site than waste skips.”

In addition, the company has installed a variable speed air compressor for its packaging machinery which has reduced power consumption by 30%. It has also built a biodiesel production facility on site and is growing industrial rapeseed to produce cleaner fuel for a new combined heat and power generator.

The generator will provide power for the company’s fleet of electric fork lift trucks and keep potatoes warm at night to reduce the risk of bruising during packaging. The company plans to produce fuel from waste potatoes using new technology which has been developed with research funding from Scottish Enterprise Tayside.

Taypack has also introduced satellite tracking technology to manage its fleet of potato collection lorries more efficiently. This has cut the company’s transport fuel bill by £100,000 a year.

These environmental measures have earned the company several green accolades. In 2006 Taypack won the medium business sized category of the VIBES environmental awards. VIBES (Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland) is Scotland's leading business and environment competition which recognises commercial success achieved by improved environmental performance.

“Reducing waste is good management practice and can result in real financial benefits for businesses like ours,” added Mr Dunmore. “It’s also an essential part of making sure that we comply with environmental legislation.

“But more importantly, we are a family business and as one of the largest employers in the areas we have a responsibility to reduce our environmental impact on the local community – this is our real driving force. We want to ensure that future generations enjoy the same quality of life that we enjoy today.”

Further information

Energy Efficiency Guidance

Green Transport Guidance

How to Manage Transport Impacts

VIBES Awards

You can also search for good practice case studies on the European Resource Efficiency Knowledge Centre (EREK)

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