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Recycle Week 2022: How we manage food waste

Gourmet Hot dog with recyclable packaging


One of CalMac's core priorities in our Environmental Strategy 2021-23 is to optimise and efficiently use resources whilst maximising re-use and recycling opportunities and minimising waste. As part of Recycle Week 2022, we would like to share what happens to our food waste from the vessels and how this is managed by our contractor, Keenan Recycling.

Keenan Recycling collects food waste from businesses and private sector organisations across the UK and transforms it into compost, renewable electricity and gas, heat and fuel. It has an ever-growing fleet of specialised food waste collection vehicles that operate a 24/7, 365-day a year service, across 17 depots, offering private and public sector clients an opportunity to segregate food waste for separate collection. We're not legally required to separate and dispose of food waste from rural postcodes, however we do this by choice as we are committed to protecting the environment and reducing our waste sent to landfill.

We have been working with Keenan Recycling since February 2018. Keenan's Head of Customer Service, Andrew Gerlach, ensures the smooth running of the contract and makes sure that the scheduled collections are always on time, first time. Our food waste comes from the galleys on most of the major vessels and headquarters in Gourock. The rural nature of the ports mean that Keenan Recycling must always have a truck available to make sure the food waste is removed and recycled on a regular basis.

The food waste collected from the ports is put through a de-packaging pre-treatment. The process utilises turbo separator technology combined with water injection to maximise the separation of organic materials from packaging. The packaging comes out clean ready for disposal, or further recycling. The organic materials recovered are then liquidised and blended into biofuel. This is a biofuel optimised for anaerobic digestion, which is then transported by tankers and loaded into Anaerobic Digestion tanks and broken down over time to produce methane. This is then extracted from the digester and is known as biogas which can be used for electricity, gas to grid, heating or even as biomethane for transport.

As well as delivering a sustainable food collection service, Keenan Recycling is on its own journey of implementing a Net Zero Transition Plan with a clear aim of creating a sustainable zero carbon food waste collection business model. Keenan has establised its carbon footprint and has a roadmap in place to achieve Net Zero ambitions by 2030, and aims to become the supply chain partner of choice for food waste recycling.

CalMac is proud to work with Keenan Recycling to ensure our food waste is managed sustainably. Find out more about our commitment to the environment in the Environmental Management section of our website.



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