In today’s environmentally unstable climate, it is the duty of all businesses to ensure that their production methods cause the least amount of impact possible to our natural world.
From the outset, the ethos of Particularly Good Ltd has been to provide quality, in terms of both product and service, whilst trying to cause the least amount of damage to the planet.
To this end, we have addressed the issues of carbon footprint, packaging, recycling and effluent, but the subject of our fragile ecosystem has been a factor in every aspect of our planning.
Our potatoes are grown in Northumberland, with our factory situated approximately 200metres from one of our potato fields – they can be graded and onto the factory line within an hour. From there, we process, pack and deliver to local establishments, two days a week.
Our field to fork journey can be as little as half a mile. As a contrast to this we know of some Sagitta which left Northumberland and was shipped to Majorca to be grown, only to come back to Newcastle as chips.
In the washing, peeling and preparing of fresh chips/potatoes, a significant volume of effluent (waste) is produced. This can include potato peelings, blemishes, used water and the natural bi-product of potatoes – starch. Recently, water companies have expressed their concern at how much of this waste is entering our drains/watercourses and are considering methods of reducing this discharge in order to:
1. Protect the environment
2. Prevent damage to sewers, pumping stations and wastewater treatment processes
3. Protect the health and safety of the public and staff
At Particularly Good Ltd, it is our wish to reduce the volume of effluent discharged.
Starch – We have a starch extractor in the factory. Washing the peeled potatoes results in starch being deposited in the water. Once the line has finished work for the day, this water is put through a hydro-cyclone which separates the starch from the water. This is then collected in bags, where it solidifies and can either be spread on our fields as fertiliser or fed to cattle as a supplement.
Used water – The water which has been separated from the starch is temporarily stored in a holding tank, which allows any last dregs of starch to sink to the bottom. This water is then removed and used for fertigration on our fields. By the time it makes it way back to the watercourse, it has been further filtered through soil and gravel and diluted by rainfall.
Potato peelings/blemishes – these are collected after every chipping production, stored in large pallets and delivered to our neighbour’s farm, Doddington Farm, local producers of ice cream and cheese, where they are used for stock feed.
At Particularly Good, we believe in recycling everything – If a substance/material can be used more than once, then we will find a way of doing this. Two examples of our recycling routines include:
In order to provide the optimum shelf life of our product to our customers, we vacuum pack our fresh potatoes in plastic pouches. To ensure that this material does not become part of the global issue on discarded plastic, we offer a collection service, whereby we will pick up empty bags and recycle them on our customers’ behalf. The labels we use are also completely recyclable.
The water we use to wash our potatoes is supplied by a borehole on site. The used water, after being cleansed by the hydro cyclone, is temporarily held in a holding tank to allow all sediment to sink to the bottom, before being spread on our fields. From there, it is filtered through the soil and will eventually re-enter the watercourse as effectively pure water, which then feeds the borehole. A perfect cycle.
As our business grows and takes on new production procedures, we are determined to follow the most environmentally aware route. Be assured that we do this with utter commitment on our part.
Producer A from Perth supplies Desiree, Hermes and Cara potato seeds to Egypt, which have been graded and harvested in September, then stored for a minimum of 4 weeks. After this time, they are graded again, packed into 50Kg hessian sacks and then loaded into a 40ft refrigerated container, which requires to be temperature and humidity controlled.
This container is transported by the Maersk line to Grangemouth and then sent either by road, rail or feeder ship to Felixstowe, where it is loaded onto a mother ship and exported to the port of Alexandria in Egypt. Once there, the potatoes are transferred onto lorries which drive them a distance of 800 miles into the middle of the Sahara desert to be unloaded by the customer. Here, the crop is grown under a centre pivot irrigation system, where it is required to be irrigated and fertigated for some 16 hours per day, due to the extreme heat.
After 110 – 130 days, the potatoes are harvested and transported to packing stations for their journey to UK, Italy, Germany and Russia, to name but four countries.
Those potatoes which are exported from Egypt back to UK, when they arrive at Felixstowe, will have travelled approximately 9,460 miles and still have to be distributed throughout the UK from there. This is clearly an extensive use of fuel, as well as energy to maintain the correct temperature during travel and huge volumes of water used to irrigate the crop once planted.
A phenomenal carbon footprint.