Food waste is discarded by Cook chefs into an ‘in-feed station’ located in the kitchen.
Frozen meal producer Cook has ‘closed the loop’ at its kitchen in the UK by installing an innovative end-to-end food waste system.
The Rothenburg food waste management system enables Cook to easily and efficiently segregate and process all the food waste generated at its facility in Kent. Food waste is emptied into an ‘in-feed station’ located in the kitchen and vacuum technology moves it through a pipe to a 24,000 litre storage tank.
During the process, the food waste passes through an in-line macerator that effectively turns it into a thick liquid and maximises the storage capacity of the tank. The sealed system uses no water, heat or chemicals to process the food waste and is not connected to the drains. A UV and carbon air editing system ensures the system is odourless.
Every two weeks, the food waste is collected from the tank, which occupies an area the equivalent of approximately two car parking spaces, halving the previous storage area required. The solution also reduces food waste collection vehicle movements on site by 85%, and dramatically cuts the number of food waste miles travelled.
The process has been made possible thanks to a partnership with waste and energy company Tamar.
Tamar processes the food waste at one of its network of food waste facilities and converts it using anaerobic digestion into renewable energy, which is then exported to the National Grid and a nutrient-rich biofertiliser used in agriculture.
Richard Pike, technical and sustainability director for Cook, said: “We have always recycled all of our unavoidable food waste from our main sites. Now, by working with Tamar and installing the Rothenburg system, we are able to achieve a one stop solution for this waste, improve site hygiene and reduce operating costs while maximising the potential benefit from kitchen trimmings. It’s important to Cook that the environmental impact is minimised and the waste will generate energy to power homes and businesses.
“It’s exciting to think that in the future the fertiliser produced by this process could be used on the land that grows our vegetables, supporting the circular economy.”
And Tamar chief executive Dean Hislop said: “The Rothenburg system offers progressive companies like Cook, who are genuinely committed to making a difference, a great opportunity to recycle their food waste to benefit the environment and future food production. This is an easy solution for busy commercial kitchens and food manufacturers to make sure they do good with the unavoidable food waste they produce.”
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