The 25th September saw the official opening of Muntons new Anaerobic Digester plant, with The Baroness Scott of Needham Market performing the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon.
As an environmentally conscientious manufacturer, the decision for Muntons to invest £5.4 million in the new plant was a simple one to make, assisting greatly with the sustainability of their business. Alan Ridealgh, Muntons Managing Director, explains: “We were spending £750,000 every year paying for 3,000 truck-loads of residue from our processes to be removed from our site. Now this same residue is processed in our Anaerobic Digester (AD) plant and produces 25% of our annual site electricity demand. The resultant bio-fertiliser is now sold to local farms to enrich fields used to grow cereals such as our prime raw material – malting barley.”
The ceremony opened with a brief presentation introducing Muntons and exploring the business rationale to build the AD plant. A brief one-minute video of the entire construction process followed and the assembled dignitaries then gathered at the opening of the AD plant to witness the cutting of the ribbon. The Baroness Scott of Needham Market dutifully performed the ritual and commented: “It is a great privilege to have been invited to open this facility today. Muntons are a company with their roots firmly established in the local area and this new plant is an important commitment to the Stowmarket site and the environment.”
Nigel Davies, Muntons Manufacturing and Sustainability Director said: “”The generation of highly nutritive fertiliser is a genuine cradle to cradle process by returning to our growers material generated solely from malting barley. The co-generation of electricity diminishes our reliance on grid electricity which we know is under pressure due to the need to upgrade the delivery infrastructure”
Muntons buy almost all of their malting barley from within a 50 mile radius of the maltings, purchasing a quarter of a million tonnes across their company. They make malt and a wide variety of malted ingredients which are sold to over 60 countries globally. These products are used in beer and whisky production but also importantly in a host of food products from malt vinegar to chocolate confectionery. It is the residue from the barley used in their production processes which form the raw material for the AD plant. This makes Muntons a little unique as all of the products used in their AD plant are totally traceable and food safe.
It is anticipated that about 3,000 tonnes of Bio-fertiliser will be produced in their AD plant, pasteurised and centrifuged, providing a useful source of nutrition for local farms – effectively closing the circle: barley from local farms, grown into malt, residues feeding AD plant and finally going back to farm to feed the new crop.
Of course there is the added bonus that the AD plant generates electricity from the gas released during the AD process – sufficient to cover 25% of Muntons site usage. This is energy used where it is generated. Good for the environment (and Muntons too).
This investment more than anything else, underlines Muntons serious commitment to the sustainability agenda. They know that it is vital that businesses take practical steps to reduce their environmental impact. Their strap line sums this up well: ‘P.S. Practical Sustainability – It’s no afterthought.’