Portable Foods, the plant that makes Rice Krispies Squares, met the Food and Drink Federation’s environmental targets four years ahead of schedule. Where does it get the drive?
“We’ve got an absolutely ace bunch of people who work in the factory who are very keen” [on sustainability]”, says Peter King, the quality resource manager and environmental coordinator at Portable Foods in Wrexham, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kellogg’s. “They want to do it, they’re always coming up with ideas, and the management want it done as well.”
In fact, the management is so keen to see the factory reach high environmental standards that in 2009 they took the Food and Drink Federation targets for 2015 – and decided to meet them four years early. Because of this the Portable Foods plant, which manufactures many of the Kellogg’s bars such as Rice Krispies Squares, has cut energy use by a third and reduced water use by 17%.
It’s also reached the target of sending zero waste to landfill. After halving the amount of general waste leaving the site, the rest is incinerated, with the energy being recovered. This year, the amount of waste headed for incineration should be cut from 17 tonnes a month to five.
Energy is also on the hit list for 2012. Despite a public commitment to a 2% year-on-year reduction, management set the in-house figure at 5%. “Those are pretty aggressive targets really”, says King, pointing out that their office space doubled over Christmas. Additionally, the plant is only 14 years old, meaning their machinery is relatively new and energy efficient, so there’s no obvious ‘low hanging fruit’. Instead, any serious reductions have to happen on a human scale through training and awareness.
“I do think it’s the mentality in Portable Foods that makes a big difference”, King says. “We are a smaller plant. It’s easier to be a family, a community. I look at what we’ve achieved and I think ‘bloody hell, that’s good stuff’.” – Sarah Lewis-Hammond