Waste prevention as a strategy for planning business expansion
- Waste reduction, waste recycling, CO2 emission reduction, cost savings
- Cheese company's bid to double production and cut down on food waste
The Strathearn Cheese Co. is a micro-dairy with big expansion plans. Started in 2016, production has steadily grown, and Strathearn hopes to double production over the next few years.
However, roughly 14 % of turnover went in food waste costs, which was a big issue for the company. A waste audit was issued to identify resource efficiency opportunities, especially in food waste prevention.
- Waste whey is an inevitable by-product of the cheese-making process. When a cheese culture is added to milk, the process then leads to cheese curd, with whey being leftover in the milk vat once the curd has been removed and drained from the moulds. Currently, this waste stream is sent to anaerobic digestion to extract energy from waste food. The audit proposed to re-use whey as animal feed in place of imported feed, such as soya. Substituting the whey as animal feed saves 2.4 tonnes of soya, which is equivalent savings of 6.6 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.
- Strathearn also became aware of regular spoilage occurring in the cheese maturation room due to the poor climate control leading to losses of around 7.4 % of annual cheese production, or around € 3 200 in lost revenue. It was proposed that a new temperature and humidity control unit would reduce spoilage by at least 80 %, with an identified payback of only 1.4 years. New equipment was purchased which helps to save around 800 portions of cheese per year from being sent to waste.
Implementation of resource efficiency measures brought big benefits to the Strathearn micro-dairy:
- 40 % saving on the cost of waste disposal
- € 2 000 per annum reduction in waste costs
- € 3 200 of lost product revenue reduced by replacing poor equipment
- Sustainability is now built into growth plans for the future:
- 24 000 litres of whey waste to be redirected to animal feed
- Carbon saving of 6.6 tonnes CO2e from animal feed replacement
- Saving up to €4 500 on waste disposal costs
Planning ahead is helping the company look to control costs as it expands – showing that paying attention to waste today is helping pay for tomorrow’s expansion.
Resource Efficient Scotland, 2016, Strathearn Cheese Co. brings waste prevention to the heart of expansion strategy, https://www.resourceefficientscotland.com/case-study/strathearn-cheese-…