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Olleco

Seeing opportunities in what others throw away gives waste a new lease of life.

In its short lifetime, Olleco has grown to become one of the UK’s most progressive circular economy companies, leading the way for the food and hospitality industries to embrace a more sustainable future. We have the global climate crisis front of mind in everything we do and we are deploying human ingenuity to create innovative technologies and dynamic systems that help our partners radically reduce their carbon footprint with the ultimate goal of achieving zero carbon operations.

Conceived in 2006 by ABP, Olleco was originally created to address changes in legislation which banned used cooking oil from its traditional use as an ingredient in animal feed. To avoid this precious, energy-rich material from going to landfill where it contributes to global warming or being disposed of to sewer where it forms fatbergs, Olleco set out to collect as much used cooking oil as possible to be converted into high value, renewable fuels such as biodiesel.

To reduce the carbon footprint of our used cooking oil collections, the natural next step was to use the outward leg of our collection journeys to deliver fresh cooking oils and fats. We sourced a range of premium cooking oils and fats from sustainable sources to meet the demands of our growing customer base and procured a fleet of bespoke vehicles. Deploying “reverse logistics” in this way was a beautifully simple tactic to reduce the carbon impact of the cooking oil supply chain by 50%.

This business model, coupled with a highly professional national service, quickly propelled Olleco to market leadership and won us the business of many of the largest names in the food industry. Not content with that, we looked at other areas where the food industry could improve its carbon footprint and avoid wasting valuable resources. Food waste was often being sent to landfill where it produces methane – a greenhouse gas around 25 times more damaging than CO₂. However, by processing it through an anaerobic digestor, the methane can be safely captured and used to make renewable energy. Seeing this opportunity, Olleco added food waste collections to the services it offers its customers. Segregating food waste is the single most important factor in reducing the carbon footprint of any food service business.

Having created the largest biorefinery in the UK specialising in converting used cooking oil into biodiesel, we examined how we could make it even greener. The answer was to build an onsite anaerobic digestion (AD) plant which would use food waste to generate heat and power creating the UK’s first carbon-neutral biorefinery.

Inspired by our success of our zero carbon biorefinery, we embarked on the development of state of the art anaerobic digestors and seized the opportunity to work with Arla as they developed their milk processing plant at Aylesbury. We developed a facility that would use food waste from their restaurants to make Arla’s new plant the world’s largest carbon net zero dairy. The rich organic fertiliser created as a byproduct of the AD process could then be used to improve soil condition by farmers producing food for the restaurants, milk for the dairy and oil crops to feed our supply chain. The project went on to win us second place at the Circulars Awards at the World Economic Forum 2019 in Davos.

Click icons to view key stats

86% less Greenhouse Gas emissions

That’s the greenhouse gas savings Olleco has made, compared to fossil fuels

If Olleco processed all the UK’s commercial food waste

we could capture as much carbon annually as a forest the size of Scotland

Employing over 1000 people

at more than 19 sites, strategically located throughout the UK and Ireland, we service over 50,000 catering establishments.

The world’s leading climate scientist

have warned that, unless we can limit global warming to 1.5°c over the next twelve years, we face a catastrophic chain of extreme weather events that will threaten the lives of millions of people.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

have identified $3 trillion of value to be realised globally by businesses rethinking the way they operate

  • 86% less Greenhouse Gas emissions

    That’s the greenhouse gas savings Olleco has made, compared to fossil fuels

  • If Olleco processed all the UK’s commercial food waste

    we could capture as much carbon annually as a forest the size of Scotland

  • Employing over 1000 people

    at more than 19 sites, strategically located throughout the UK and Ireland, we service over 50,000 catering establishments.

  • The world’s leading climate scientist

    have warned that, unless we can limit global warming to 1.5°c over the next twelve years, we face a catastrophic chain of extreme weather events that will threaten the lives of millions of people.

  • The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    have identified $3 trillion of value to be realised globally by businesses rethinking the way they operate

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