Former IMC managing director Steve Witt has set up his own food waste equipment business as he re-engages with the sector at a time when the prospect of new legislation could bring sweeping changes to the way operators manage waste.
Mr Witt set up Ecofast Environmental UK in December and has formed a partnership with Ecofast Italia to produce and modify its food waste reduction systems for UK customers.
The systems are being assembled and manufactured by Metcalfe Catering Equipment in Wales, with parts sourced locally where possible.
Mr Witt described Ecofast Italia as the “original designers of spin drying and de-watering technology” and said that the systems he is supplying in the UK are built to an improved specification.
He explained: “I have had the luxury of being able to sit back and look at issues with this type of equipment and engineer in a solution – anything from a filter system on the water, which means you can use recycled water or recovered rainwater from the roots, which you couldn’t do before because the solenoid valves wouldn’t work, to the inclusion of digital displays that tell operators, or more importantly the service or maintenance team, exactly what is going wrong.”
There are currently seven products within the range, which can be combined to create either a bespoke or off-the-shelf situation, Mr Witt said.
He now plans to set up a dedicated route to market, but it will not include selling to the masses.
“I want to work with a series of tried, trusted dealer networks and it is going to be a small collection of dealer networks that I know personally and trust to represent my business,” he said. “I will work with them as a waste resource consultant, if you like, and if my product is not suitable for an enquiry or a specific site I will suggest which solution or which company they need to go to in order to better source that.”
With the focus on new food waste regulations in parts of the UK growing, Mr Witt – who is also currently chairman of the FEA’s Food Waste Committee – said it was a compelling time to be involved in the space.
“I don’t care how good your supply chain is or your on-site procurement, as a kitchen you will always produce waste,” he said. “With the up and coming legislation it will be a legal requirement to separate your food waste, so working with Defra, the Environmental Agency, the Scottish Environmental Protection agency and Zero Waste Scotland through the FEA, the industry is looking to provide a better, more cohesive instruction blueprint of what technology you can use and why.”