The UK Food Waste – Brown Food Caddy

The UK Food Waste, is mostly dumped in a landfill in most countries where councils pay for it again in landfill tax. It is directly linked with local communities back here in the Dorset as Bournemouth council have given people the opportunity to recycle food waste. In the first two years of food waste collections, over 4,300 tons of food waste, an average of 8.4 tons per day was recycled. This had a direct effect on the community at the time has the generated enough energy to power the whole recycling process as well as 300 households for an entire year. A liquid soil improver made from the food waste still has an impact today as it is spread on nearby farming land in Dorset & Hampshire. This photo-essay seeks to reveal how Bournemouth and its surrounding communities have come together to reduce the amount of food waste in the rubbish stream and increasing recycling. The process of the food waste composted by the Dorset and how it is made useful.

A Food Waste container or a Food Caddy that has been given to Bournemouth residents in order to reduce the amount of food waste in the rubbish stream and increasing recycling. Newspaper and rolls of liners can be used to line the kitchen caddy. This stage in the process affects the community as it gives them somewhere to deposit their food waste.

The Brown food caddy s left outside when it is full with food scraps next to the normal bins or the contents can be transferred to the outside Food Waste Container. They are picked up by the refuse collector at the same time as general rubbish from a Bournemouth resident’s home in small collection vehicles.

The food waste is collected using a new dual-compartment waste collection vehicles.  The small collection vehicle delivers the food waste in the Eco at Christchurch.  This stage in the process affects the community as it creates new jobs for the local people. In addition to meeting the ever-increasing demand for food waste recycling, the lorry helps to reduce the carbon emissions of Commercial Recycling because it is a Euro 6, class leader in low emissions and fuel consumption.

The food waste is delivered to Eco Sustainable Solutions, Christchurch, Dorset who offer disposable solutions and recycle green waste, wood waste, household waste, and soil.  Normally it would be delivered to a landfill such as Sita Ltd in Dorset where different types of waste are dumped. The new collections save Bournemouth Council over £200k savings per year in treatment costs. Eco Sustainable Solutions is one of the UK’s leading organics recycling firm, annually processing 150,000 tons of material.

Each truck empties its food waste into this chamber in Christchurch. The food waste is a pile in each section until there is 30 tons of material in each section. The amount of trash in each truck depends on the amount of household in each area who use the food caddy.  Each truck contains around 9 tons of food waste.

Each chamber (30 tons of food waste material) is then loaded onto one big vehicle. This is then delivered to an anaerobic digester in Dorchester (Eco Dorchester). This stage in the process affects the community by creating new jobs for the local people.

The food collected is deposited into Eco Sustainable Solutions, anaerobic digester. It holds up to 15,000 tons of organic waste, such as food waste, as well as up to 6,000 tons of pig slurry to create methane gas. The Anaerobic digester breaks down the food waste by heating it to a high temperature to ensure sterilization.  It uses the food waste as a fuel to produce gas and electricity. The gas is used in a local mill that produces animal feed. The electricity is supplied to the national grid, providing enough current to power 1,200 homes in Bournemouth and other areas.

The delivered material is loaded directly into a hopper which feeds the food waste into a shredder the shredder­­­­ shreds the material and removes any packaging. Any packaging found is separated then loaded into a skip. They are separated to ensure that a certain amount of energy can be extracted from the food waste.

The remaining food waste material is blended with some liquid to make a porridge textured material.  The pre-treatment involves mixing the various feedstock elements together to ensure the right consistency and ratio.The material should also be screened for contaminants, such as plastic and grits at this stage.


The feedstock is then fed into Eco Sustainable Solutions, anaerobic digester. It holds up to 15,000 tons of organic waste, such as food waste, as well as up to 6,000 tons of pig slurry to create methane gas. The Anaerobic digester breaks down the food waste by heating it to a high temperature to ensure sterilisation.  It uses the food waste as a fuel to produce gas and electricity.

The digestate produced is stored until it is required, and can be separated into liquid and solid fractions. Solid fractions can be processed further on site by being put into a composting operation for further processing or used directly on land. This material is fed into the digester tank. This tank has material constantly moving through it but the material will stay in the tank for about 40 days. While in the tank the material breaks down and produces methane, the methane is captured and used as fuel to power generators which produce electricity which is sold to the National Grid.


After the 40 days the material stops producing gas and it is then pasteurised (heated to 60 degrees) to kill harmful bacteria then put into storage tanks. The process produces a liquid soil improver which is spread on nearby farming land. From the storage tanks, it is applied to agricultural land as fertilizer.

The gas is used in a local mill that produces animal feed.The electricity is supplied to the national grid, providing enough current to power 1,200 homes in Bournemouth and other areas.



Greenzone Facilities Management

“Many thanks for the confirmation and I am pleased that you’ve retained the business with the new contractor on site. May I take this time to thank you and the whole team for the service you have provided on these contracts over the past 12 months. It’s been greatly appreciated and I cannot fault the service provision”

Greenzone Facilities Management


Waste Check

“We can always rely on Eco Food to provide a reliable and quality service for our customers. A key aspect that stands out for me is the quality and quickness of communication from Eco Food, especially for us as a waste management company. If there are ever any issues at site, they are relayed to us asap and likewise, if we ever report any issues, Shaun is always willing to go to the site direct and offer a hands on solution. We just wished they covered more areas so we could use them more! A pleasure to work with.”

Waste Check

Waste Management Facilities

“Eco have always given WMF a reliable, efficient service with friendly helpful operatives.  Food waste is becoming more important for the future of our planet and knowing you have a good supplier on board, dedicated to their cause makes it easier for us to put in place with our clients.”

Waste Management Facilities

Harvest Fine Foods divert 50 tonnes of food waste from landfill

Eco Food Recycling food waste bins on site at Harvest Fine Foods, Christchurch

Harvest Fine Foods enrolled the services of Eco Food Recycling in January to find a sustainable solution to the waste produced from there new pre-prepared fruit and veg service that they were launching to their client base.

In the first 5 months of 2011 in-excess of 50 tonnes of food waste has been collected by Eco Food Recycling and recycled giving the Christchurch based food production and distribution company a zero waste to landfill solution.

A total of 12 x 240 ltr food waste bins were placed on site by southern based food waste collection and recycling firm Eco Food Recycling, and collections were made three times per week. By the end of May a total of 471 food waste bins were collected with a total weight of 50,811 kgs at an average lift weight of 108 kgs per bin.

Eco Food Recycling use portable heavy duty scales to weigh each bin giving  100% accurate bin lift weight data for their clients. This weight data is used purely for monthly management reporting as requested by customers and not for charging purposes.

A national food waste collection service is offered  by Eco Food Recycling.

Castlepoint Shopping Park approach 50 tonne of food waste collected

New Peter Matthews

Peter Matthews, General Manager - Castlepoint Shopping Park, Bournemouth

Castlepoint Operations Manager Bill Riddle pictured with Eco Food Recycling Directors Simon Heaps and Andy Jones

Castlepoint Shopping Park in Bournemouth, one of the many clients that have accurate bin weight figures provided by Eco Food Recycling

Castlepoint Shopping Park in Bournemouth opened in 2003 and with 645,000 sq ft of retail space is the largest shopping park in the UK covering 41 acres. Peter Matthews, General Manager, arrived in 2005 and soon had recycling on his agenda.

Before 2006 the centre had no recycling policy and disposing of waste was a major expense and was growing annually, even something as basic as cardboard was being collected at a cost to Castlepoint. The success of the recycling project undertaken by Peter Matthews and his team has been quite staggering in the following years. From 100% waste to landfill in 2005 Castlepoint have reached the heady heights of 61% recycled last year and are looking to have over 70% of the Shopping Parks waste recycled by the end of this year.

Food waste was a stream that had always been sent to landfill however this all changed following an introduction to Simon Heaps from Eco Food Recycling at the Bournemouth Chamber of Trade’s Green Knowledge Network Forum. There followed several consultations as to how potential savings could be made if a zero waste to landfill policy was implemented for the food waste generated at the Park.

Initially the two principle restaurants , Nando’s and Frankie & Bennys, were selected for trial and supplied with three 240L wheelie bins each, bio-degradable bags and instructions on what could be disposed . The trial and weighing of the food waste began in August 2010, during the first four weeks 1.8 tonnes of food waste was collected by Eco Food Recycling . This convinced Peter and his team that diversion of the food waste stream would work and make a massive impact on their recycling figures. The second phase was rolled out in October  when the three coffee shops,  Costa Coffee, Cafe Nero and Thorntons, were introduced into the collection rota increasing the monthly tonnage to over 3 tonnes. For example nearly 100 kgs of coffee grounds are collected from each outlet weekly. That equates to over 15 tonnes annually.

The vision of Peter Matthews and his team then extended to the staff rooms at all of the retail stores within the Park. Eco Food Recycling were asked to provide kitchen caddies and bio-degradeable bags so that fruit, sandwiches and any waste food produced by staff could also be collected and recycled.

The introduction of this latest initiative within Castlepoint Shopping Park has resulted in over 6 tonnes of food waste being collected during April alone and in excess of  42 tonnes since Eco Food Recycling commenced collections in August 2010. With a “zero waste to landfill” policy being used these figures meant a total landfill diversion solution for the Park for its food waste.

The food waste recycling scheme was implemented by Eco Food Recycling by placing eleven 240 ltr food waste wheelie bins in strategic places around the confines of the Park convenient for the tenants to place their food waste bags into when full. The retailers were each supplied with bio-degradeable bags and 23 ltr kitchen caddies.

To make the initiative work  it was vital to have the co-operation of all tenants and their staff. This  was obtained after co-directors Simon Heaps and Andy Jones visited each unit on site before food waste collections commenced. Simon and Andy explained the reasons and benefits behind the scheme to each units staff and what was required from them to make it successful.  With any such scheme  it’s vital to communicate with every employee  of each unit and fully explain how and more importantly why a scheme is being introduced.

“ Simon and Andy were instrumental in setting up our trial, speaking to the restaurants concerned and providing the necessary training to make the exercise a resounding success. We are very pleased that their hard work is starting to reap benefits for them, as much as it is for ourselves, in making the Centre greener. We are extremely focussed on our Centre footprint and will continue to support this initiative whilst encouraging other Shopping Centres to adopt the principles of this very worthwhile scheme” said Bill Riddle Operation Manager – Castlepoint Shopping Park.

He added   “Staff soon became familiar with the process but were right behind the trial and wanted to play their part to make Castlepoint “greener”.

“Since the start of the trial in  August last year , when we sent 1.8 tonnes of food waste to be recycled, we have generated 42 tonnes of food waste. This directly equates to the same reduction in tonnages sent to landfill without the additional costs. “

“ We asked Eco Food Recycling to give us exact landfill diversion figures which they did by using their own unique method of weighing each bin. With lightweight industrial scales that can be calibrated to the nearest 10 grams they provide monthly management reports showing bin lifts and weights collected. It is good to see a young vibrant waste company being set a target and delivering.”

Simon Heaps and Andy Jones, the joint Directors of Eco Food Recycling, looked long and hard at the best way to provide accurate bin weights for their clients, including Castlepoint Shopping Park, at the outset and were fully aware of the technology that is available as regards bin chips and on board weighing systems. However the industry is fully aware of the pitfalls and expense of installing and implementing such systems for small companies so another alternative was sought.

By using portable and weatherproof industrial scales on their vehicles they are able to accurately report to their clients the weights that have been lifted and subsequently diverted from landfill. Clients are charged on a bin lift pricing module and not by weight.

By offering these landfill diversion figures which can also be used for a carbon footprint reduction analysis they are able to offer something that is unique within the food waste collection industry.

Local media coverage has highlighted Castlepoint  for their “green initiatives” along with enhancing the growing reputation of Eco Food Recycling as a leading independant food waste collection and recycling company in the South of England.

Simon Heaps said “ When we first spoke to Peter Matthews we found somebody who was fully focused on increasing the Parks recycling percentages but needed to find a sustainable solution without increased costs. We found the assistance of the tenants was certainly helped because of the strong recycling ethos at Castlepoint and the fact that they were already segregating and recycling other waste streams within the Park so the introduction of food waste collections and recycling was easy to implement.”

“Nowadays with so many local authorities collecting food waste and mixed recyclables residentially it came as no surprise to the tenants staff that they were being asked to adopt commercial recycling within the Park. Without their support and assistance this would have been a lot harder.” he added.

Eco Food Recycling who operate a food waste collection and recycling service covering Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey and Sussex dispose of their food waste at a local IVC ( in vessel composting ) facility near Bournemouth Airport run by Trelawney Dampney and his  Eco Sustainable Solutions team  where the food waste is turned into compost.  During the early part of 2012 Trewlawney will be opening an AD plant nearby, and the Castlepoint food waste will be destined for renewable energy.

For any Shopping Centres or Parks that are thinking of introducing food waste collections the benefits are clear to see :

  • Landfill diversion – helping the environment and making your operation “ greener “
  • Increased recycling figures – Using media coverage to your advantage.
  • Cost neutral benefits from day one which can result in decreased ongoing costs going forward as landfill tax increases year on year
  • Interaction with tenants and their staff

Peter Matthews had the final word.  “ We asked Eco Food Recycling to increase our recycling figures ,which they did. We have had over 42 tonnes of food waste diverted from landfill  to date and our costs have not increased. I see this as an easy to implement  blueprint for other shopping centres around the UK to follow and would encourage others to follow suit.”

Castlepoint Shopping Park increase recycling targets by introducing food waste collections

An initiative between Bournemouth’s Castlepoint Shopping Park and ECO Food Recycling Ltd started in August to recycle food waste has hit the 7 ton target within 3 months. The trial was initially conducted with the support of the Frankie and Bennys and Nandos restaurants followed by Thorntons, Café Nero and Costa Coffee.

Bill Riddle, Operations Manager at Castlepoint, was invited to follow the recycling process with ECO Food Recycling Directors Simon Heaps and Andy Jones.  Once collected, the food waste is taken just 5 miles drive to the ECO Sustainable Solutions site. Here Steve Harman the Operations Manager explained how the Invessel composting facility processes cooked and uncooked meat and foodstuffs.  The food waste is first shredded then allowed to heat up to sterilise and sampled and analysed after 10 – 12 days.  It is then moved outside for up to 14 weeks before the nutrient rich compost is screened for unwanted residues before being used on the 400 acre turf fields to replenish the soil harvested during the turf process.

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Friends of the Earth – Food Waste Collections

Complying with environmentally-friendly guidelines like those supplied by Friends of the Earth doesn’t have to be something that hinders your business.

Eco Food Recycling have studied and worked with Friends of the Earth to ensure that all of our services are compliant with all their suggestions for making sure food waste is handled ethically and recycled to maximum effect.

But as more and more increases in landfill tax land year-after-year, it’s more relevant than ever to make sure your food waste is being handled properly.

Not only is this a great way to reduce you business’ carbon footprint, but it can also save you thousands of pounds in taxes and fees.

See how we’ve helped the Friends of the Earth organisation provide an eco-friendly food waste collection service in out latest case study, on the link: