Resource efficiency in the UK gin and vodka sector

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1 Case Study: UK Drinks Sector Resource efficiency in the UK gin and vodka sector Reducing water, material and packaging use in the UK gin and vodka sector

2 Resource efficiency in the UK gin and vodka sector 2 WRAP s vision is a world without waste, where resources are used sustainably. We work with businesses, individuals and communities to help them reap the benefits of reducing waste, developing sustainable products and using resources in an efficient way. Find out more at Front cover photography: Coloured spirit bottles - Image courtesy of WRAP While we have tried to make sure this is accurate, we cannot accept responsibility or be held legally responsible for any loss or damage arising out of or in connection with this information being inaccurate, incomplete or misleading. This material is copyrighted. You can copy it free of charge as long as the material is accurate and not used in a misleading context. You must identify the source of the material and acknowledge our copyright. You must not use material to endorse or suggest we have endorsed a commercial product or service. For more details please see our terms and conditions on our website at Document reference: [e.g. WRAP, 2006, Report Name (WRAP Project TYR Report prepared by..banbury, WRAP]

3 Resource efficiency in the UK gin and vodka sector 3 Contents Contents... 3 Summary Review... 4 Packaging... 5 Water use... 6 Clean in Place (CIP)... 7 Waste water... 8 Resource consumption... 8 Conclusions... 10

4 Resource efficiency in the UK gin and vodka sector 4 Summary Review Gin and vodka together account for approximately 40% of spirits consumed within the UK, with 78.3 million litres 1 produced annually. Unlike whisky, gin and vodka production is typically based on the redistillation and/or filtration of neutral alcohol and therefore a consumer less resource which leads to lower amounts of associated by-product and wastewater. Spent grains arise at the point of neutral alcohol production, rather than at the production stage, and much of this occurs outside the UK. Approximately 90 million litres of neutral alcohol are consumed in the production of these spirits, of which 40 million litres are produced in the UK, with the remainder of the grain or molasses-based alcohol largely sourced from France or non-eu countries, such as Brazil. A resource map that shows key inputs, the production stages involved and waste and loss streams is at the end of this review. Key opportunities 600 tonnes of stretch-wrap conserved equates to a sector saving of 860,000 Lightweight bottles consume 130g less glass per 70cl bottle than average, giving a sector saving potential of 16,700 tonnes of glass Water saving of 1.7 billion litres by moving to good production practice Key opportunities to improve resource efficiency are outlined over. 1 Litres of pure alcohol (LPA) equivalent to 280 million 70cl bottles

5 Resource efficiency in the UK gin and vodka sector 5 Packaging The sector recycles the majority of cardboard and glass that is not sent out with the product. The main opportunity is to minimise waste arising in the first place, including reducing secondary packaging and the use of resources within the packaging, which is not at the cost of functionality or branding. Glass use for packaging of gin and vodka is around 120,000 tonnes per annum, approximately 280 million units 2. There have been some significant strides in light-weighting, though the square bottle design associated with gin in particular can be a barrier to reducing glass content as the structure is weaker 3. However, light-weighting offers substantial opportunity for the vodka sector and much of the remaining gin sector, with lightweight bottles consuming 130g less glass per 70cl bottle than average 4. Applying this to the vodka market alone (46% of total), gives a sector savings potential of 16,700 tonnes of glass. This reduction can result in further transport savings through improved stacking and lower fuel use as a result of transporting less weight per load. Secondary packaging offers further opportunities for optimisation. When packaging product for distribution, stretch-wrap efficiencies are often not maximised, resulting in excessive plastic consumption. Within the spirits sector, an estimated 600 tonnes of material could be saved by more efficient practices, achievable by ensuring staff are trained and machinery is handled correctly. Based on the November 2011 price of virgin plastic film, 600 tonnes of wrap conserved equates to a sector saving of 860,000. Pallet loads can be associated with cardboard waste, yet this can be prevented entirely with returnable plastic layer pads, which can be used 2 Based on industry inputs and HMRC sales 3 Glass industry input, DHL (2008) UK packaging benchmarking data Available through research_tools/tools/uk_packaging_benchmark/

6 Resource efficiency in the UK gin and vodka sector 6 more than 20 times. Due to the recyclability of cardboard, this is often overlooked, yet within the waste hierarchy reduction of waste is favoured to recycling, and can also offer financial benefits. One gin manufacturer has taken the system further, managing pallet-less distribution. By using slip sheets rather than pallets, packaging density was increased and transportation efficiency improved. Water use The amount of water used in the manufacture of products was not widely monitored. In comparison to whisky, less water is needed in the UK production of gin or vodka, as the ethyl alcohol is imported, reducing the level of processing needed in the UK. Nevertheless there is a substantial range of water use; the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) estimated 2-5 litres per litre of product, while industry estimates placed this significantly higher, at 7-45l/l highlighting the need for improved monitoring. Monitoring of water, and detailed breakdown of water use, was minimal in companies surveyed, and these are important first steps in detecting opportunities for improvements. There is also wide variation in water use depending on the type of process occurring companies interviewed which carried out a single stage of the production process (such as reducing to bottling strength) reported 2.15l/l, but this did not take into account earlier processing off site. Using an industry average of 8l/l (45l/l was an extreme example, and gin and vodka estimates were placed lower), but suggesting a best practice of 5l/l (to bring this into the WSTA range) suggests water savings in the sector could be in the range of 1.7 billion litres.

7 Resource efficiency in the UK gin and vodka sector 7 Potential also exists to increase the recycling of water on site which will also help reduce the overall amount of water used. This opportunity has the most potential within distilleries. Cooling and cleaning is often the largest use of water and source of wastewater. Cooling water (where used) is not always reused, although there are several opportunities for lower quality water uses (some cleaning opportunities, and domestic water requirements) within the sites. Cleaning water can be minimised in several ways, with the use of advanced clean in place technologies being beneficial. Clean in Place (CIP) CIP is a well proven concept for product changeovers and clean/wash downs in the food and drink sector. Being well established, the generic stages in the CIP process are very well honed; however, CIP systems are continuing to evolve, and companies can make improvements without significant capital investments. Methods for optimising CIP may include: incorporating the internal recycling of water and chemicals; optimising product scheduling to minimise changeovers; staff training; carefully setting operating programmes which coincide with the real cleaning requirements of the process; using water efficient spray devices, and; removing product and gross soiling prior to cleaning. Diageo has investigated the optimisation of its CIP systems in a number of its sites, such as at its Leven packaging plant which reported potential savings of 222,000 litres of water per annum through more efficient CIP procedures for vessels and pipes between bottle runs 5. A process of continuous analysis and improvement delivered a 25% improvement in 5

8 Resource efficiency in the UK gin and vodka sector 8 water efficiency at the Cameronbridge grain distillery during 2010 compared to Waste water The UK manufacture of gin and vodka typically involves the use of externally-sourced neutral alcohol, reducing the chemical oxygen demand (COD)/ biological oxygen demand (BOD) levels in wastewater at production sites in comparison to those apparent during full distillation. However, the ph levels and organic content of wastewater can still be a problem, and treatment is often still required, due to residues of botanicals and the low ph of neutral alcohol. Where complete distillation is from potatoes or fruit in the typical UK production of neutral grain alcohol, then the ph and COD of wastewater are more extreme. Both full distillation and filtration and secondary distillation, more typically associated with gin and vodka in the UK, may benefit from effluent separation with distillery water discharge separated from the general wastewater arisings in cleaning down/domestic uses and other, non-organic, processes. Resource consumption From the neutral alcohol, vodka is produced by filtering and blending with water. Gin is a little more complicated with the addition of botanicals (various herbs and other plant extracts the only mandatory additive being juniper) and further distillation; with the exception of compound gin, which is blended without being distilled. The spent botanical waste is often sent to landfill. Although arisings are fairly small at a site level, overall quantities in the UK equate to about 3,000 tonnes. This may be a recoverable resource and an easy target for diversion from landfill.

9 Resource efficiency in the UK gin and vodka sector 9 During redistillation there is a 5% loss of spirit of gin this is the less desirable feints or tails of the spirit but rather than being lost or disposed of, this is sold on to further production and distillation for industrial use, though it is too oily for further use in drinks production. In terms of waste arisings on the filling lines, some product loss has been associated with fill inefficiencies for square bottles. This is considered avoidable, as line efficiencies can be just as high with square bottles as round, but due to the downtime caused by changeover of the line, and smaller runs of square bottles, this is often an accepted loss. Losses in these cases were still minor, due to stringent regulations from HMRC associated with alcohol production.

10 Resource efficiency in the UK gin and vodka sector 10 Conclusions There are several focal points for maximising resource efficiency within the UK gin and vodka supply chains, and these are listed below. Improve monitoring. This is particularly important for water use, with a greater understanding required of specific water uses within the sector. Installing water meters highlights areas of excessive water use, and allows for the targeting of improvements. Improved CIP. Although water efficiency is difficult to quantify, cleaning water is still considered one of the key areas of water use, and few companies interviewed had placed much focus on ensuring this was well controlled. Botanical waste. Organic botanical waste is easily composted, and yet of the companies interviewed, half were disposing of this to landfill. Distillery owners should investigate nearby processors to find out if there are any local composting facilities. Primary packaging. Further opportunity to continue with lightweighting across the sectors. Secondary packaging. Focus on waste management has led to relatively little waste going to landfill from packaging operations, but has overshadowed the opportunity to minimise waste arisings in the first instance. Review materials to determine if more efficient options are available.

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