A new invention, thought up by a Fife businessman, is set to revolutionise the way chip shops, restaurants and food processors stop their waste going down the drain – and at the same time help them avoid hefty fines.
Malcolm Wood, of Ballingry-based fruit and vegetable wholesaler Ivan Wood & Sons, believes his Eco Peel Tech filtration system will help any business that puts fruit or vegetable peel down the drain meet strict new Government legislation coming into effect in Scotland next year.
The patent pending under-sink system took two years to develop and works by blocking micro starch and protein from up to 125kg of food waste peelings before needing to be emptied. The resultant waste can then be sold as animal feed or bio-mass fuel, providing businesses with an additional revenue stream.
Malcolm said: “The average chip shop peels 10 x 25kg of main crop potatoes a day; that equates to around 420kg of waste main crop potato skin and starch that ends up down the drain a week. On January 1st businesses that fall foul of the new Waste (Scotland) Regulations will be fined £40k if they are found putting more than 5kg of food waste down the drain per week. That is a huge difference, and why we think there is a massive market for the product.
“Starch not only solidifies in drainage pipes, it also smells and businesses spend hundreds of pounds each year removing the build-up. One local chip shop, who had problems with their drains for 26 years, was spending £500 annually to clear them. Since installing the Eco Peel Tech system its drainage issues have been fixed. We believe each unit will last for up to 30 years which means, for that business alone, there’s a potential lifetime saving of £15,000 plus they avoid steep fines.”
He added: “It’s a very exciting time for the business which was set up 45 years ago. In the past we have invented a few products to meet our own needs but have never taken anything to market until now. After representatives from SEPA, Scottish Water and Zero Waste Scotland were left amazed when they saw waste, sludge and dirty water entering and then clean water that can be recycled coming out of the Eco Peel Tech system, we knew we’d hit upon something that could have a huge impact.”
With help from Business Gateway Fife, Malcolm was able to apply for the patent for his device and put in place plans that will see the machines, which are made in Glenrothes from stainless steel and brass by Fife Fabrications, sold throughout the UK and Eire as well internationally.
He said: “Last year I went to Business Gateway Fife for advice on patenting, exporting and traceability as, although I have been in business all my life, these were areas I’d never had to think about before. My adviser, Lynne Baillie put me in touch with the right people straight away. Her help has been brilliant. We now have three distributors ready to take the product to market in the UK and Eire. There has also been interest from as far afield as Singapore, Australia and the UAE.”
He added: “The potential global market for Eco Peel Tech system is massive. There is no other system available that does what this can. Historically planners in major cities never anticipated the volume of restaurants or people that now populate them. The resultant food waste is causing massive drainage problems, problems our machine has the potential to alleviate.”
Lynne Baillie, Business Gateway Fife said: “Already Malcolm’s product has picked up two awards – the Fife Business Awards 2015 ‘Success at Innovation’ and a VIBES award in November – and is a finalist in this year’s Innovate Scotland Award and one of three finalists in the innovation category at this year’s Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards. These accolades recognise the potential positive impact the Eco Peel Tech system will have both on the environment and the food processing industry as a whole. We are delighted that our advice has helped him bring the machine to market, and will continue to work with Malcolm to ensure the company fulfils its global potential.”
For more information on the Eco Peel Tech system visit: www.peeltech.co.uk
To find out how Business Gateway Fife can help your business call us now on 01592 858333.