Macphie Case Study: Water & Packaging

01 January 2020

As a family business with the third generation of Macphie at the helm, this food ingredients manufacturer has a different outlook on doing business. Taking a long-term view, it’s clear on the legacy it wants to leave future generations. Therefore, sustainability plays a key role in its purpose and mission.


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Monitored closely by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Macphie treats all its waste water using its on-site effluent plant in Aberdeenshire before returning it to the nearby River Bervie.

The sludge that is left has a liming agent added and is used on the Glenbervie estate fields – on which the Macphie manufacturing site is located – as a soil improver.

And this year, the estate was recognised by Wildlife Estates Scotland for its work with wildlife, habitat and conservation management.

Looking to the future, the company is now turning its attention to its second site in North Lanarkshire. As part of a seven-figure investment in its Central Belt factory, Macphe is installing a new waste water treatment plant to maintain the effective management of the local water environment, protecting the environment ahead of plans for increased production.

However, it’s not just the waters close to home that are on Macphie’s environmental agenda. It’s making moves to support the global drive to reduce the amount of plastic polluting our oceans.

At present, the packaging for one of its best-selling lines is made from 75% renewable and recyclable material and by 2020 it aims to increase that to almost 85%.

The food manufacturer is also cutting down the amount of single-use plastic it uses to wrap pallets, trailling new materials which could cut down the use of plastic by 65% a year on one production line alone.

Beyond packaing, the team is looking at how it uses plastic in everyday work. Macphie’s technical teams have switched from using plastic spoons to metal; by changing the way they carry out product tastings Macphie has reduced its plastic consumption by over 20,000 spoons per year.

View Ambition 2025 Progress Report.

 “From treating our waste water locally to reducing the amount of single-use plastic from our processes, we do our best to minimise our impact on the world around us. “As a member of B Corp, we’re part of a global community of organisations dedicated to using business as a force for good. “Ambition 2025 ties in with how we go about out work today, for the future, recognising we all have a part to play in protecting our environment.”

Alastair Macphie

Chairman, Macphie