Oliver Kay, which supplies fresh fruit and vegetables to more than 3,500 chefs around the UK, has become the first catering greengrocer to replace polystyrene trays used to deliver produce with compostable trays made from sugar cane, and plastic nets for fruit with compostable netting made from beechwood. It has also introduced 100% recyclable plastic wrap for its deliveries.
The business, part of the Bidfresh group, which supplies fresh fruit and veg to more than 3,500 chefs around the UK, is also converting waste produce from its warehouses into compost. It has installed an automatic screw press process in its Bolton warehouse, which removes the water from fruit and vegetable waste to reduce the density of the load by 90%, leaving only organic waste behind. The resulting compost can be collected by farmers delivering goods to Oliver Kay, to use on the fields growing the veg.
A business of this type and size obviously generates packaging and food waste,” said Paul Leyland, commercial & sustainability director for Oliver Kay. “Deliveries come in to us in cardboard boxes, and we then separate and re-pack to send out to our customers.” Oliver Kay receives the equivalent of 10,000kg of cardboard boxes each day across its three sites, “and through our strict quality standards and prep department we produce approximately 2.5 tonnes of food waste each day.”
According top an article on packagingnews.co.uk, the next step will be to upgrade the biodegradable plastic bags used to deliver produce such as peppers and spring cabbage, to a fully compostable or recyclable option.