Eco Food Recycling – turning food into profit and power

A food recycling company that began just two years ago has processed an astonishing 40,000 tonnes of waste in the last 12 months.

Eco Food Recycling’s remarkable growth has seen turnover increase by 80 per cent in the first half of this year.

The firm was set up by two former professional sportsmen, Andy Jones who played football for Wales, and Simon Heaps, an ex-European table tennis champion.

They now have a rapidly expanding fleet of vehicles at their base in Ringwood, Hampshire, to cope with the increasing demand.

From a humble start-up two years ago with one small van, Eco Food Recycling is responsible for food waste collection across the country through its network of specialist waste carriers.

Most of the discarded food is taken to anaerobic digestion plants where it is turned into energy.

The growth of the firm since 2010 in such economically-trying times is a real success story.

The company collects from a range of sectors including hotels, restaurants, pubs, food producers, leisure and theme parks, shopping centres, universities, colleges, schools and company canteens.

It boasts among its clients some household names, including Waitrose, and recently was chosen as the subject of a documentary made by China Central Television, which has a billion viewers.

But despite its success the firm is only nibbling at Britain’s food mountain of leftovers and scraps.

According to the Government-funded WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), a total of 8.3 million tonnes of food waste is thrown out by households alone each year.

Commercial enterprises are increasingly recycling their food waste due to their corporate social responsibility policies and impending legislation.

Director Simon Heaps, 57, said: “Andy and I are overwhelmed by the success that we have had since we started.

“We both knew that hard work would be essential for the success of our business and we have had to re-evaluate our business plan on a number of occasions as new clients have approached us to have their food waste collected.

“Companies are now realising that having their food waste collected makes them fully compliant with the “waste hierarchy” rules, which means that all waste must be recycled where possible, as opposed to going to landfill.

“It also helps them with their Corporate Social Responsibility policies as well as improving the environment for our children and future generations.

“Nearly all companies have waste recycling targets and a mandate to reduce their carbon footprint.

“Food is the heaviest waste stream and in most cases the only thing left to recycle.

“By diverting this waste stream from landfill companies can hit their recycling targets and reduce their carbon footprint.”

Co-director Andy Jones, 49, said: “What we offer is fully sustainable and only achievable locally by having Eco Sustainable Solutions nearby.

“The company is not connected with ours, but is one of the leading food waste recyclers in the country, on our doorstep.

“By having a nearby disposal facility we can offer a low carbon footprint for our customers with a zero waste to landfill solution.”