Cheesemaker builds on eco-friendly difference

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

Clothier: 'Ongoing journey'
Clothier: 'Ongoing journey'

Related tags: Anaerobic digestion, Methane, Wyke farms

Wyke Farms is tackling anaerobic digestion after officially opening a £1.3M water recovery plant today (June 2), as md Richard Clothier seeks to make its “green message” a “unique point of difference”.

The UK’s largest independent cheese producer and milk processor, based in Somerset’s Mendip Hills, said the second phase of its anaerobic digester (AD) project was on track to launch later this year.

It initially launched its on-site biogas plant last year, which has enabled it to become the UK’s first national cheddar brand to be 100% self-sufficient in green energy. The completed AD facility is designed to supply £2M of upgraded biogas annually, ensuring the firm buys no gas from the grid.

‘100% Green’

The news came as the cheesemaker opened its water recovery plant, which is now fully operational, enabling it to recover up to 95% of its factory waste water. The initiative forms part of the cheese brand’s £10M long-term sustainability plan, called ‘100% Green’.

The plant consists of a membrane filtration system installed in the effluent area of its factory and the business claims it has already reduced factory water consumption by 70%.

Wyke Farms expects it to save it up to 850,000 litres of water per day and believes it will help it future proof its business. It believes climate change will make water scarce at certain times of year, so investing in technology is more sustainable than water extraction or bigger incoming mains.

100% Green is an ongoing journey that we remain committed to,” ​said Clothier. “We are excited to be communicating our ‘green message’ this year alongside all of the other Wyke brand values that shoppers are familiar with. This will ensure that the Wyke Farms will remain a national grocery brand with a unique point of difference.”

‘Helped cut costs’

Energy and climate change minister Baroness Verma, who opened the water plant, said: “Harnessing power from farm waste and the sun has not only helped Wyke Farms reduce carbon emissions, it has helped them cut costs and save money on their energy bills.

“Wyke's new cutting edge water recovery system will now help save thousands of litres of water a day, ensuring the business is self-sufficient in this valuable resource. It's great to see Wyke leading the way in the south west and beyond, and I wish them every success as they drive forward their ‘100% Green’ plans.”

In addition to the water recovery facility and the biogas and AD projects, the firm has slashed greenhouse gas emissions by fitting solar panelling across its family owned farms and cheese dairy. Using electric vehicles for delivery and reducing its packaging waste has helped this process.

Wyke Farms sells more than 14,000t of cheese annually. Its products are available nationwide and can be found in Asda, Co-op, Makro, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose stores.

The company won Dairy manufacturing company of the year​ at Food Manufacture’s 2013 Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards and Clothier was awarded Personality of the year​.

The shortlist for this year’s Personality of the year awards has been compiled​. Readers can register their votes at www.foodmanawards.co.uk​.

Related topics: Dairy

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