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How to bake zero waste bagels

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Maple Leaf Bakery has been working with Biffa IWM to not only reduce its waste, but also wipe out waste cost.

Famous in the UK for its New York Bakery Co. bagel range, Maple Leaf Foods is a multi-national firm that produces goods such as bread and croissants particularly in its home nation of Canada but also in the Untied States.

Established in 1996, its UK subsidiary Maple Leaf Bakery employs 1,200 people in six sites producing 90 per cent of the 200 million bagels supplied to the UK retail and wholesale market.

Since 2011, Maple Leaf Bakery has been working with Biffa Integrated Waste Management (IWM) - an independent entity of part of the overall Biffa group that is designed to find the best financial and environmental waste management solutions for businesses.

As a result of the partnership, Maple Leaf Bakery is now sending zero waste to landfill, but is also doing this with no costs involved in its waste management.

Maple Leaf Bakery gave Biffa IWM creative license to deliver maximum value from every waste stream being generated at its UK bakery sites.

“Biffa IWM and Maple Leaf Bakery have built up a very close working relationship which has helped to push each site from a general waste dependent site to a zero cost and zero waste to landfill site,” says Maple Leak Bakery head of health & safety Mark Jones. “This is a great achievement.”

According to Biffa IWM general manager Robin Chambers, this is an example of its Zero to Landfill initiative that it has been implementing at companies such as Maple Leaf Bakery and others like Premier Foods.

“IWM is a part of Biffa, but it is different,” he says. “We put an integrated manager on site and audit everything from the production line to deliveries - the whole process.

“We look at the low-hanging fruit and then highlight the business case to the management of the company for what we do in terms of zero waste to landfill.

“So we identify resource savings such as sustainable quantities of material that can be recycled and then provide a rebate on these assets.

“If a company has cardboard for example that is good quality for recycling, then we treat it as a commodity asset.

“We usually come across packaging, dry mixed recycling, hard plastics etc.

“For Maple Leaf Bakery we also had waste bread dough and dough for other products such as bagels and pain au chocolat and we saw this as a co-product.”

As a result, Biffa IWM sells the waste dough for animal feed “and we get top dollar for it” he says “because we provide a secure supply of dough for animal feed and that is unusual.”

Biffa IWM placed screw compactors at the bakery as these reduced the waste compared to guillotine compactors and also meant less vermin was attracted.

Also, as a result of providing weighing equipment, Maple Leak Bakery was able to see how much material was being lost through its production processes and take action to minimise as much of this
as possible.

However, as a group Biffa also has contracts to provide anaerobic digestion food waste processing to companies, so why wasn’t this technology used in this instance?

“Biffa IWM has to earn the business we get from companies such as Maple Leaf Bakery,” says Robin Chambers.

“We had to provide good service, but also be closed loop where possbile and this was preferred ahead of energy recovery by our customer.

“As a result of the animal feed from the food waste and the cardboard recovered from Maple Leaf Bakery, we have been able to net off the costs of the waste management.”

At Maple Leaf Bakery staff have also been encouraged to take ownership of sustainable resource management programmes with waste champions at each site meeting with senior managers and Biffa IWM to develop new initiatives to reduce waste and conserve resources.

Category: Manufacturing
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