Waste Management In Action

The devil’s in the detail


Cookers’ lifecycle solution is cutting down on carbon emissions, generating renewables and reducing packaging waste to landfill.

For over 20 years, Cookers Bulk Oil has strived to minimise its impact on the environment while placing sustainability at the core of its operations. 

This is not just a case of making sure it reduces the amount of waste it creates, but guaranteeing its logistical operations are as sustainable as possible. 

The company specialises in efficient and environmentally friendly fresh oil and used cooking oil collection across Australia – working to provide a complete oil management solution across the food services and hospitality industries. 

According to Peter Fitzgerald, Cookers Managing Director, the company’s used cooking oil collection service cuts down on carbon emissions by reducing packaging waste to landfill and the transformation of used oil into biodiesel. He adds that sustainability is the basic premise of the business. 

“Oil has traditionally been delivered in packaging such as tins or single use bags in boxes. But what we do is provide small stainless-steel tanks on free loan to our customers, which eliminates packaging waste,” he says. 

Fitzgerald adds that many of Cookers’ customers operate under the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, with Cookers playing a key role in the packaging waste reduction process. 

The business’s lifecycle solution sees it source fresh cooking oils refined in Australia to meet industry standards. It delivers the fresh oil via a fleet of designated fresh trucks, and also picks up used cooking oil via a fleet of designated UCO trucks. The used cooking oil is converted into renewable commodities such as biodiesel and animal feed ingredient.

“For every drop of oil we supply, we also provide the necessary equipment to transfer the used cooking oil product back into our tankers,” Hari Srinivas, Cookers National Quality Manager, says. 

“In the past, used cooking oil went straight into the sink or onto the land via landfill. What we do, however, is collect the used cooking oil, which is then dewatered and refined before being reused for biodiesel and feedstock.” 

Cookers’ stainless-steel tanks offer clients the chance to reduce waste.

This approach, Srinivas explains, functions much like product stewardship, with all used cooking oil processed in a carbon-controlled environment. 

“Manufacturers blend various ingredients that are source of protein, fat, carbs, minerals and vitamins to produce animal feed and refined used cooking oil is used as a fat source in that formulation,” he says. 

“To do that you need a licence, and we are accredited under the Australian Renderers Association certification. The certification is derived from National standard for Recycling of Used Cooking Fats and Oils intended for Animal Feeds.” 

Cookers also holds an International  Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC). ISCC covers comprehensive sustainability requirements to monitor greenhouse gas emissions and ensure products are traceable and produced in an environmentally responsible manner.

“As part of our ISCC certification we need to monitor regularly our greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve been certified for more than 10 years, and under that certification we are audited every year to ensure we are managing our emissions and wider operational sustainability,” Srinivas says. 

The company ensures its own operations are environmentally friendly by harvesting and reusing rainwater at its sites, measuring and analysing its greenhouse emissions, and using a wind turbine at its head office to supply 35 per cent of its factory power needs.

The 15kw wind turbine was erected in August 2011 and is believed to be one of the largest of its type in Melbourne. Cookers aims to eventually produce 50 per cent of its head office power by adding solar.

“We’ve got 10 depots around Australia, which capture rainwater for truck washing and cleaning. Some of those depots have solar power, and most are now under review to have that installed,” Fitzgerald says. 

He highlights Cookers’ approach to vehicles as another point of sustainability, with the company’s fleet monitoring system measuring emissions and driver behaviour to optimise fleet performance and reduce fuel consumption.  

“Our fleet is geared up with the all the latest technology, which is a key focus for us. Being more fuel-efficient benefits the environment as well as us financially,” Fitzgerald says. 

“We like to keep our fleet at the best possible environmental and safety standard. We have a saying at the company: lots of people talk about sustainability, we just do it. It’s the basic premise of our business.” 

According to Fitzgerald, this approach extends beyond Cookers’ customer facing operations, with a commitment to internal sustainability embedded into the business model.  

“We were concerned about plastic water bottles, so we installed refrigerated, filtered water lines in all of our office kitchens,” he says. 

“We also supply stainless steel water bottles and KeepCups for all of our employees, and our Cookers pens are made from cardboard. 

“It all comes down to the little details. There’s choices that you can make as a business and that’s what we endeavour to do – make the right choices to minimise our impact on the environment.”

For more information visit: www.cookers.com.au

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