Rocket Composter investment helps AstraZeneca reduce waste and embrace circular economy

Multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has invested in an A900 Rocket Composter from Tidy Planet, to process its 100-acre manufacturing site’s 24 tonnes of annual food and green waste.

The investment forms part of the organisation’s wider sustainability target to reduce waste and embrace a circular economy. As part of this environmental commitment, the company is also aiming to achieve zero-carbon status at its 4,000-person-capacity campus, by 2025.

This represents the first commercial-scale composter to be installed on an AstraZeneca site – a move the firm hopes will drive sustainability forward across its network globally.

Commenting on the project, FM development manager at AstraZeneca’s Macclesfield site, Guy Camm, said: “We’re deeply committed to making our campus more sustainable, and we want to be best-in-class for how we handle our food and green waste.

“Installing an on-site composter seemed like a great fit for us, as by recycling our food and green waste at source, we can create a closed loop model that reduces both wastage and our carbon footprint.

“Our horticultural team will be using the resulting compost across the campus, and there is a proposal in place that it will also be used to grow fresh produce – further reducing food transportation miles and carbon emissions.

“We’re also working with our catering supplier to ensure all our takeaway cups and tableware are compostable, to make sure our approach is a truly holistic one.”

Prior to purchasing the three-quarter-tonne machine, last year members of the AstraZeneca team had a virtual meeting with The University of Liverpool’s Guild of Students, to discuss its existing installation and composting operation.

Huw Crampton, sales manager and composting expert at Tidy Planet, added: “It’s great to be working with a fellow local company, helping to harness its resource potential, and cut down carbon emissions associated with off-site waste transportation.”

And Guy concluded: “In terms of why we chose Tidy Planet, we loved the fact they were local to us – down the road in fact. And after speaking to their reference site in Liverpool, we gained a real feel for how the same model could work for us – and this was really exciting.

“We’ve made sure that we have space for another machine – futureproofing the demands of the campus if our food waste levels increase. And we’ve also recruited a ‘composter champion’ from our catering workforce to support, govern, and train others in how to use the equipment.

“Further down the line, we also aim to make the compost available for employees to take home with them, following a small donation to one of our local charities of choice.

“We hope that this is the beginning of a long-term composting journey not only here in Macclesfield, but at our other UK and global sites, too.”

The Rocket Composter was installed at the end of last month, and will soon be given a name, to be chosen in AstraZeneca’s staff-wide competition.