Have you ever stopped to think about your food waste piling up in food waste bins? UK households generate an enormous amount of food waste each year, but commercial waste has some equally troubling statistics. When it comes to waste, we see potential for cost saving and resource efficiency.
This quick guide will get you started on what you need to implement an effective food waste management strategy and prevent those overflowing food waste bins.
Business waste statistics: food waste
- A third of all food in the world is wasted (equating to around $984 billion in losses).
- The UK generates more food waste than any other country in Europe – around 14 million tonnes per year.
- Hospitality wastes £2.5 billion in food waste each year.
- 18% of food waste is generated by the manufacturing sector, 10% by hospitality and food services, and 2% by retail.
- Food waste was reduced by 9% between 2007 and 2015.
- The food and drink we waste annually would fill approximately nine Wembley Stadiums.
- 40% of the waste generated in the hospitality industry is carbohydrates.
- The food supply chain produces a fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions.
- Eliminating preventable food waste would be the equivalent of removing five cars from the road in the UK.
Why should businesses strive to reduce their food waste bins?
It has social and environmental consequences
- Food waste is associated with greenhouse gas emissions in that it created methane when disposed of by food waste bins and landfill. It can also be responsible for polluting groundwater when disposed of in this way.
- Food production, manufacture, storage, and transport in itself has far-reaching environmental consequences. When you think of the energy and environmental impact that goes into the sheer volume of wasted food and drink, this unquestionably has a dire effect on the environment.
- Reducing food waste is a critical measure for the UK to meet its international climate change targets and to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill in keeping with the European Landfill Directive.
- Food waste is a highly contentious issue. Food waste at existing levels could result in food shortages, which would increase the price of food to untenable amounts for some people. With world hunger and increasingly limited food resources a daily reality, food waste will continue to be the target of change.
It is the cost-effective choice
- Where there is waste, there is an unavoidable cost and economic loss.
- WRAP has calculated that, for every £1 invested in food waste management, an organisation stands to make £14 in savings, with one element of this being reduced business waste management costs.
- Landfill tax is already very costly for businesses – and is expected to continue to rise in future.
It will stand you in good stead for future regulations
The UK Government – and many developing nations around the world – are facing increased pressure to address the issue of food waste within their countries. As such, proposed regulations are on the cards. These include the likelihood of reporting of food waste by food businesses, an adjustment to the ‘best before’ and ‘sell by’ labels on food, regulations around food packaging sizes, and the advancement of anaerobic digestion as a renewable energy source.
It will change how people think about waste
The vast majority of food waste in the UK comes from households. By making food waste a point of concern within your organisation – and giving employees real buy-in around the issue – you may raise awareness around food waste in the home too. This may have an effect on their attitudes which will filter into their home lives.
How can businesses implement a food waste management plan?
Here are our top three tips for success:
- Reduce the waste of raw materials, ingredients, and products
- What do you consider waste? Some of the waste generated by your organisation may still be usable and suitable for re-distribution to people and for the manufacture of animal feed. This clever form of waste prevention has seen 700 000 tonnes of waste distributed through charities and commercial enterprises, 2.2 million tonnes of food for use in animal feed, and 2 million tonnes of animal by-products used in rendering. This is a notable amount of waste diverted from landfill. It has also been widely adopted by well-known supermarket chains and big names in retail to assist hungry and disadvantaged communities.
- If you are selling food, ensure that the ‘sell by’ and ‘use by’ dates are understood by your customers. Also look into your labelling on things like storage advice and work towards reducing consumer wastage.
- Strategise around leftovers.
- RECYCLING AND RECOVERY
- Look into composting to give new life to waste. Composting tends to have low operational costs and is possible with most kinds of food waste. It also does not release harmful gases into the environment as it does when it goes to landfill.
- Anaerobic digestion is an increasingly popular means of creating renewable energy from recycled food waste.
- Energy recovery can be possible from incinerated food waste.
- When all other options have been exhausted, the remainder of the food waste will be sent to landfill.
- Ensure that your food waste is separated correctly and targeted appropriately by your waste management company. Take an interest in how and where this is disposed of and work with your team to meet their requirements for effective disposal.
Why you should work with Smarter Business
Working with waste management specialists will give you expert insights into how to optimise your business waste management. Very often, what ends up in your bin has a value – and how you dispose of that has a cost to your business too. Smarter Business works with businesses to tailor waste management advice and provide industry-leading service to streamline operations and improve their bottom line.