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Leading the way to a compostable future.

29 November 2018

Oliver Kay Produce are wholesale greengrocers, operating from two main warehouses, one in Bolton a second in Wednesbury in addition to three other, smaller sites. The business delivers to approximately 3,500 catering establishments 6 days a week. “A business of this type and size obviously generates an amount of waste in the form of packaging and food waste” says Paul Leyland, Commercial & Sustainability Director for the company. “Deliveries come in to us in cardboard boxes, we QC each item by hand (with any items not to standard being rejected), and we then separate and re-pack to send out to our customers”.

Oliver Kay accepts deliveries equating to approximately 10,000kg of cardboard boxes per day. “We are buying roughly 800 nets of lemons each day, 320 trays of chillies each day, and through our strict quality standards and prep department we are producing approximately 2.5 tonnes of food waste each day”. Paul and the team at Oliver Kay realise what an impact the waste from the food service industry produces, and wants to lead by example in helping to reduce this.

Tackling food waste – putting veg back in the ground.
Oliver Kay are working with a local Cheshire based business, ‘Re-Source’, who offer bespoke waste management solutions. The business have introduced a screw press process which removes the water from fruit & vegetable waste to dramatically reduce the density of the load by 90%, leaving only organic waste behind. This resulting compost can be collected by the farmers when they deliver goods to Oliver Kay, and taken back to use on the fields growing the veg! The screw press is fully automated. Waste passes through in minutes, and it requires a very low level of energy to run it. Paul Ellison from Re-Source commented, “We are excited to be working with a pro-active team who have a genuine desire for best practice. Our aim is to implement a turn-key solution at Oliver Kay, to be the market leader in environmental and green practice solutions, with 100% landfill diversion.”

On the packaging front.
Oliver Kay were using polystyrene trays to pack items. These are then wrapped in clear plastic to protect the produce. Paul Leyland, “We looked at moving to biodegradable packaging, but realised that to really make a difference, all of the packaging needed to be compostable”. Oliver Kay turned to local Preston based business ‘Thompson Packaging’. Their compostable trays are called ‘Bagass Trays’, which are made from Sugarcane. Moving to these has enabled the business to offer a truly compostable tray solution. The business has also switched to a 100% recyclable plastic wrap, and remains on the look out for a compostable substitute to this element of their packaging.

Items such as oranges, lemons and limes, which have historically been packed in plastic netting, have been switched to a more durable and stronger product which is fully compostable. The netting is manufactured from Beech wood grown in PEFC certified forests in Austria & neighbouring countries. Here the wood is turned to pulp and then to fibre, to create the netting.

Richard Thompson, Thompsons Packing Ltd, “We are proud to support Oliver Kay in their move to sustainable packaging.  It is extremely important to us, that companies such as ours take the initiative, and commit to working closely with our partners.  Thompsons Packaging along with Oliver Kay want to ensure that the environmental impact and wastage associated with packaging is minimised, and wherever possible eliminated from the supply chain.”

Every little counts.
In addition to the larger projects in the warehouse, recycling also takes place in Oliver Kay’s offices with paper and plastic waste being separated and recycled. The business has also purchased re-useable drinks containers for staff, eradicating the need for plastic water bottles.

The company’s green efforts are not a new thing. Paul Leyland “Roughly 4 years ago we introduced Oliver Kay branded plastic bags for packing customer orders. These bags have an additive in them, making them biodegradable. As a business we have also been separating out cardboard waste for a few years, with our cardboard compactor becoming operational 2 years ago. When it comes to food waste, we have been supporting local charities and organisations for a few years. Our aim has always been to minimise our waste, and reuse or recycle any that we do have.”

The newly implemented processes affect 80% of Oliver Kay’s packaging. The remaining 20% is from plastic bags used to package items such as peppers and spring cabbage. The next step for Oliver Kay is to move these to a compostable or recyclable option.

Oliver Kay has been zero to land fill for a number of years. Leyland, “The big task now is to ensure all out outward bound packaging also causes no environmental damage. Plastic bags are the last item we need to address on the packaging front”.

Oliver Kay’s holding company, Bidfresh, have been very supportive of Paul Leyland and his pilot project. Stephen Oswald CEO “Paul’s enthusisasm and drive to get this project in place has been an example to all in our business and the wider food service community. We will be taking his example and rolling it out across the rest of our organisation. We must ensure that all our packaging is compostable in the future”.

Paul Leyland - Oliver Kay 5 copy  Packaging - Oliver Kay 2 copy  

Oliver Kay Logo white 1017

Bolton Site
Oliver Kay Produce
Produce House, Britannia Way, The Valley
Bolton, Lancashire, BL2 2HH

Tel: 01204 385463

Wednesbury Site
Oliver Kay Produce
Unit A, Kings Hill Park, Darleston Road
Wednesbury, West Midlands, WS10 7SH

Tel:0121 622 8837

Bidfresh Limited trading as Oliver Kay.  Registered in England
Company Registration Number: 04227047  VAT Registration Number: GB 173 9880 60

Registered Office Address: Units 10-14 Cedar Way Industrial Estate, Camley Street, London, N1C 4PD

MODERN SLAVERY & HUMAN TRAFFICKING STATEMENT

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OLIVER KAY PRODUCE @OLIVERKAY_
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