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Nestle's Pakenham site is a food manufacturing plant. The products are mainly pizzas and noodles, although other Nestle food products are also manufactured at the site. The waste disposal costs for the noodles and pizza lines are minimal, with most of the waste going to recycle.
Site wastes and their current disposal routes are:
Analysis of the results of the benchmarking program undertaken by the company identified flour use in the pizza line as the best initial opportunity to improve its environmental performance and its economic efficiency.
For several years the company had sent scrap dough, left over at the end of a production run of pizza, to a piggery for stock feed. The benchmarking exercise had alerted the company to examine the extent of this production loss.
Further investigation revealed, to their surprise, that an average of 380 kilograms of dough was dumped every day. A small group (Flour power team) was formed to investigate ways of reducing this amount to a more acceptable level, the original objective being to reduce the waste to 100 kilograms per day.
The group held a brainstorming session to generate ideas and solutions, then placed the solutions in priority order and created action plans.
The first step was to save some of this dough in a clean bin and store it overnight in the chill room for reworking it at a rate of 5 kilograms per batch the following day. Micro-testing was done on the stored dough to ensure no bacterial growth had occurred overnight. Samples of the product containing reworked dough were presented at taste panels to ensure that quality had not been compromised. As the initial trials, for which only 50 kilograms of dough had been kept and reworked, showed no noticeable difference in quality, it was decided to save overnight as much dough as possible and rework a larger quantity per batch. Accelerated keeping-quality trials were then conducted, along with normal taste panels and micro-testing. There were no adverse results.
Several other ideas such as baking the waste dough off and saving the bases overnight in a chiller were also trialled successfully - but retained as a secondary option, mainly to cover breakdowns. Bases kept chilled overnight can be used the next morning.
All leftover dough is now reworked the following day, except on Fridays. Because its yeast component would sour the dough over a 48-hour period, dough is not stored over weekends. The company trialled baking this dough on Fridays and chilling the bases - but with limited success.
A further, parallel, project on the pizza line - installation of a new base cutter - enabled the company to reduce the waste dough from 380 kilograms to 220 kilograms at the end of each shift (which is the amount dumped on Fridays).
Instead of dumping over 1,900 kilograms of dough per week, Nestle now dump 220 kilograms, at a cost saving of approximately $30,000 annually. The team has exceeded the original objective of reducing waste dough to 100 kilograms per day. Good news for the waste reduction team but bad news for the pigs!
Nestle is very fortunate in possessing awareness of the importance of environmental issues at the plant; and the team members have very good process knowledge and are pro-active in waste management.
The objectives and targets set now are to:
The third objective - to reduce the amount of mixed-dough waste from the pizza bakehouse to 100 kilograms per day was achieved and surpassed before the year began!
This case study was prepared by the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development, Victoria. Environment Australia would like to thank them for allowing us to display their case study on our web site.