Material efficiency and waste

Material efficiency and waste management cover various issues such as efficient use of animal raw material, reduced usage of packaging materials and minimized production-related food waste and food waste in general. Efficient use of materials has a positive environmental impact in the form of mitigating climate change and reducing energy and water consumption. Moreover, material efficiency contributes to maintaining biodiversity.


The Group’s Biotech business line continued its efforts to optimize the usage of animal-based raw materials by channelling side streams into higher value added applications and by reducing materials going to waste.


1. In line with new legislation in Finland, in 2016 the Outokumpu plant began transferring manure, stomach and gut contents for biogas production instead of depositing this waste to landfills. The aim of such improvements is to move towards a circular economy by efficiently harnessing animal-based raw materials and side streams and reducing the amount of waste.

2. The Rakvere plant in Estonia increased the volume of animal by-products delivered for biogas production.

3. The Linköping plant in Sweden introduced a new process for boiling cattle bones. The bones are now sold for food industry use on the export market instead of going to waste.


HKScan has worked to further prolong the shelf life of its products by launching various new packaging techniques. A prolonged shelf life reduces food waste by increasing the probability of the food being consumed before its expiry date.

Example from our sites

HKScan’s Danish plants are running a project to decrease packaging materials. One of its key aims is to avoid repacking due to underweight portioning, mistakes, overproduction, etc.


Production-related food waste is an important focus area because this ‘waste’ has potential value. Reducing waste is also crucial for driving environmentally sound and responsible production.

Examples from our sites

1. The Rakvere plant in Estonia decreased production-related food waste by 10 per cent thanks to training, improved production lines and other investments.

2. In Sweden, HKScan’s cooperation continues with the “Matmissionen” social supermarket. In 2016, HKScan Sweden’s contribution was 8 000 kg of food products.

3. The Vantaa production plant in Finland donated batches of food to a project organized by the City of Vantaa called “A shared table”. The aim of the project was to collect surplus food in a central location enabling it to be distributed efficiently as food aid to the needy. HKScan’s contributions have been sporadic, however, as the company’s ultimate aim is to prevent all waste.

4. In autumn 2016 HKScan Finland participated in “Wastage week” organized by the Consumers’ Union of Finland. The aim of the event is to encourage the whole food chain to reduce food waste and increase food appreciation.


All our production plants adhere to a common waste hierarchy: our top priority is to reduce waste, followed by reuse, recycling, energy recovery and landfill as the last option.

During 2016 HKScan implemented a new waste management system in Finland. Our aim is to improve recycling and increase co-operation between plants – also across national borders – by sharing information on successful improvement actions. With the new set-up, we can more easily follow and manage waste handling at different levels.

Examples from our sites

1. In 2016, HKScan Finland signed a contract with the Rinki Oy service company in order to manage its statutory extendedn producer responsibility (ERP), which stipulates that companies are obligated to manage their product-related packaging waste beyond just their own operations, for example in retail. Over 5 000 companies have signed a contract with Rinki. Under the contract, producer responsibility for packaging is transferred from HKScan to Rinki and other related organizations, which together arrange collection and recycling of the packaging material.

2. A new waste station and new procedures for waste management were implemented at the Linköping plant in Sweden.

HKScan reported all its waste volumes categorized per treatment method for the first time in 2016. No comparison to previous years is therefore available. Landfill waste has been reduced by 94 per cent over the last five years, mainly because organic waste is now either harnessed for biogas production or re-used in new end-use areas identified by the company’s Biotech business.

Chemical management

Cleaning chemicals account for the largest volume of chemicals used at HKScan. We are engaged in an ongoing effort to decrease the amount of chemicals we use and to substitute them with more environmentally sound options. HKScan applies a system which closely registers the chemicals we use and their environmental and health effects.

Examples from our sites

1. Finnish regulation VNA856/2012 was implemented at HKScan Finland during 2016. The regulation introduces tougher safety requirements for chemical handling and storage. The regulation has improved safety both for the personnel and the environment by stipulating risk evaluations and action plans. 

2. The chemical storage unit has been rebuilt at the Linköping plant in Sweden. The use of several chemicals has been discontinued. A Total Plant Assessment was conducted at the site, also covering the use of chemicals.