Target, Measure, Act case studies: Quantifying food waste in effluent

Practical examples on approaches for measuring food waste in effluent streams, primarily for food producers and manufacturers, supporting delivery of the UK’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.

Meadow Foods Limited

Meadow Foods Limited (MFL) is a manufacturer of value-added dairy and plant-based ingredients, as well as inclusions and toppings with sites in Chester, Dolgellau, Peterborough and Holme on Spalding Moor.

MFL experience periodically high COD loading to the effluent plant, interfering with smooth operation, and spot samples from the balance tank were unrepresentative of overall activity. Through installing an automated composite sampler, daily COD totals are recorded from representative contents in the balance tank and MFL use a combination of the ‘mass balance’ and ‘analytical’ approaches for measurements of losses to drain.

Using a representative 1-month period, comparing 2020 to 2017, the COD reduced by 15% and the variability in COD measurements reduced by 55%

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Greencore Group

Greencore Group plc is a leading manufacturer of convenience foods and supplies a wide range of chilled, frozen and ambient foods to successful retail and food service customers in the UK. Its diverse range of customers and products can lead to short production runs and frequent changeovers risking higher wastages, especially to effluent streams from line washdowns.

Greencore has used various methodologies to measure their food waste in effluent, depending on the nature of the food waste and the monitoring data available, which has enabled site improvement teams to focus on additional areas for food waste reduction that were not previously on the radar.

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