United Biscuits more than halves water consumption

United Biscuits (UB), food manufacturers of brands such as McVitie's biscuits, Jacob's Cream Crackers, and Twiglets has reduced its water use by 52% since 2007.

According to the company’s annual sustainability report released today, UB achieved this reduction through a range of measures from re-using rain water in toilet cisterns to new nozzles on taps and hoses to reduce waste.

A UB spokesperson told edie that the vast majority of water savings had been driven by an increase in recycled water at its Teesside factory which makes McCoy’s crisps.

“The KP snack site [Teesside factory] uses by far the most water compared to any of the other sites because it uses it to wash the potatoes literally along the production lines,” he said.

“We’ve invested about £1.9m on a water recycling facility which saves half a million cubic metres of water a year.”

“It recycles the water – whereas before the water used to get used once, it now undergoes a filtration process and becomes clean water we can use again,” he added.

The Teesside facility was included in the sale of its KP snacks business at the end of 2012. Due to the sale the level of water use and the amount of saving fell in the business overall. Excluding KP Snacks, since 2007 UB has reduced its water use by 32% and will therefore retain its 45% water reduction target.

The firm has also slashed carbon, reducing its transport emissions by 40% by the end of 2012 through initiatives such as using longer trailers and trialling 100% biodiesel made from its own waste vegetable oil.

UB has also achieved a 35% reduction carbon emission target, eight years ahead of schedule and reduced its carbon emissions by a further 2% in 2012 compared with 2011, meaning it has now achieved a total reduction in carbon emissions of 36% since 1995.

In addition, all UB sites now send zero waste to landfill three years earlier than its original deadline and the company has created a new goal of a 45% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.

Conor McGlone

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