Waste management machinery designer and manufacturer Whitham Mills has completed the design, installation and commissioning of a bespoke roll cage tipping system for food waste on behalf of Tesco.
The system replaces over 700 compactors at Tesco stores and is designed to reduce the cost of compactor lifts, cleaning, maintenance and replacement.
This was installed after the retailer sought to incorporate segregated food waste into its reverse logistics operation – which sees food waste collected in-store before being bulked at one of 10 ‘recycling units’ run by the retailer.
The full inventory of installations includes: 18 patented roll cage tippers, two 4-metre high patented roll cage tippers, nine heavy duty conveyors and 11 patented compactor bin/roll cage tippers. Tipping units have been installed at: Widnes, Doncaster, Livingstone, Avonmouth, Southampton, Didcot, Dagenham, Snodland, Peterborough and Hinckley.
The system designed by Whitham Mills involves the segregation of food waste in-store, with the material then transported in plastic lined roll cages before being bulked centrally at Tesco’s Recycling Service Units, loaded into walking-floor trailers and sent for processing by contractor DS Smith via anaerobic digestion.
To operate the system, the cage, which can weigh up to 350 kilos, is placed into the housing with its door fully open. Once a safety guard is in place, the cage is lifted and tipped in two stages to ensure the material is deposited onto a waiting conveyor.
John Masters, procurement manager for waste and recycling at Tesco, said: “As part of our commitment to reducing food waste, we wanted to include this waste stream into our backhaul function and use it to generate green energy.
“With the introduction of a plastic liner, the four-side roll cages were the perfect instrument to allow segregation and removal of the 700+ compactors at stores and consolidate the waste at our Recycling Service Units.“
DS Smith’s recycling division’s account director, Nicholas Power added: “We went out to market to find the ingenious solution we needed. We had a number of conversations with companies large and small but it wasn’t until we spoke with Whitham Mills Engineering that we felt we were moving in the right direction.
“We presented them with the problem and asked them to present their solution. When we saw the simplicity of their proposal, it looked right and sounded right; as though it was the natural and obvious way this problem should be tackled.
“With a few tweaks here and there, we had a working design and an operational prototype within eight weeks”.
Whitham Mills’ system has been designed to reduce the time spent by operators in emptying the cages which was previously a less automated process and took around six minutes per cage. It now takes close to 70 seconds, as well as being safer to operate, Whitham Mills claims.
Managing director at Whitham Mills, Ben Smart, said: “We have now installed this new system in ten of Tesco’s recycling service units and our design is proving to be a valuable addition to their recycling operations.
“It was a challenging brief which tested the mettle of our best brains but it is very pleasing to see the system in operation across the country.”