As a food producer we have a responsibility to operate in a sustainable manor. There is a huge opportunity for food manufacturers and distributors to reduce their impact on the environment. These positive changes can have a huge impact on the whole supply chain. At Westaways, we’ve worked with our suppliers to create new packaging concepts; cutting out non recyclable plastics, opting for 100% compostable alternatives. We’re now looking past our packaging to areas of the business where we demand resources such as electricity usage, distribution miles & seeing how efficiency can play a role in reducing in improving our sustainability.
In the UK, the production and distribution of food uses an estimated:
1 million tonnes of plastic packaging – Less than half of this is recycled or incinerated for energy or exported.
30% of all available UK energy – We need to consider carefully how we can change to reduce the resources we use.
25% of all Heavy Goods mileage on UK roads – Is this necessary and how can we reduce food miles?
40m cubic meters cold storage (equivalent to volume of 460,000 44-ton lorries or 16,000 Olympic Swimming pools). – How can technology and behaviour change to reduce this drain on resources?
In addition, we also need to think about our social impact.
Does our operation have a positive effect on the health and viability of our communities?
– The use of card trays made from sustainably sourced wood pulp and thereby saving use of some 20 million plastic trays.
– The use of a certified compostable film to wrap our sausages. Probably a global first.
– A completely new approach to packaging optimising density to give an average of 22% extra kg per pallet.
– The use of a compostable bag to pack our frozen sausages – the bag can be reused as a food waste caddy liner.
– By investing in new technology and machinery that enabled us to produce more with less resources.
– By using artificial intelligence that provides for machines to share data and adjust settings to improve run rate and yields.
– We have shared our innovation with others in our sector, collaboration is key to change. We have shown what is possible.
– We have contributed to the work of plastic free communities, tree planting schemes, turtle nurseries, circular economies and helping the disadvantaged or vulnerable.
– We are proud to be principal sponsor of Newton Abbot Rugby Club, and help it develop into one of the largest community sports clubs in the county, if not the country. With some 21 teams and over 600 players.
Start now. We can all make changes – this is not about a few people living perfectly with a positive impact upon our environment. If all 8 billion people on the planet made small changes, the impact would be huge.
Cutting our insatiable demand for plastic is one area which can have a major impact, furthermore we can all make changes to cut our use of this material. Look at what you throw out at home and at work. How much of it is plastic? What choices can you make to reduce this? Of course, it starts with what you buy.
We at Westaway Sausages now provide our customers with an alternative to plastic. We have achieved what other meat producers said was impossible. We have changed so our customers can change. If all UK Sausage producers changed to our style of packaging this would cut 10,000 tonnes of plastic entering our waste management every year.
Nature is wonderful but so are humans, we just need to work a bit harder at living together with nature for mutual benefit for us and the planet. We need to end the plastic age and this uncontrolled experiment with our future and that of our children and grandchildren.SEE OUR SUSTAINABILITY ARTICLES