United Biscuits snacks on big water savings

United Biscuits has achieved a 43% reduction in water use since 2007, resulting in more than two million cubic metres of water savings.

This has been achieved through a range of measures from investing £2m in a water recycling plant on its Teesside manufacturing site to using grey water from factory roofs and gutters to flush the company’s toilets.

Having originally targeted a 25% saving in water use by 2020, the company increased its aim to 45% in 2010. Now, with all factories claimed to contributing to the savings effort, the company is on the brink of hitting its revised savings objective.

“Since launching our sustainability programme in 2008, we’ve made significant measurable progress against all of our targets,” said the company’s sustainability committee chair, Jeff van der Eems.

“We’ve now broadened our ambition on sustainability and widened the scope to include the growing and sourcing of ingredients, the main drivers of our actual carbon footprint.”

In addition to its water use cut, other 2011 achievements listed in United Biscuits’ latest sustainability report include securing zero waste to landfill across all manufacturing sites and cutting group-wide carbon emissions by 6%.

Last month under its McVitie’s brand, the company entered into a partnership with upcycling firm TerraCycle to start recycling biscuit wrappers. Longer term gains include reducing the carbon impact of packaging by 15% from a 2003 baseline

edie staff

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