Putting food waste at the top of the recycling menu

One of the biggest challenges facing the catering and leisure sectors is to reduce the amount of food and packaging which goes to waste, more specifically to landfill.

It’s estimated that for every meal eaten in a UK restaurant, nearly half a kilo of food* is wasted – through preparation, spoilage and what’s left behind on the plate.

One way to combat the issue is to ensure that every venue has a robust waste management and recycling policy, which not only aims to minimise the amount of food waste sent to landfill, but also promotes sustainability and recycling, particularly where food packaging is concerned.

Demonstrating its commitment to the cause, Grundon Waste Management recently signed up to WRAP’s Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, designed to support the sector in reducing waste and recycling more.

Kevin Brewer, Marketing Manager at Grundon, said: “Improved forward planning can help reduce the potential for food to become waste and we would also urge companies to move towards segregating food waste for recycling, instead of sending it to landfill.”

“The solution provides a win-win because companies can reduce their food waste and, depending on the quantity generated, some will then see a significant reduction in the size and frequency of their general waste collection needs.”

Grundon offers a dedicated food waste collection service, where typically food waste is taken to licensed Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants to be broken down into Biofertiliser and Biogas, used as a fuel for the production of electricity and/or heat. (Grundon has recently invested in a new AD plant to be built in Surrey – see separate news item).

In addition, he says that suppliers should be encouraged to look for opportunities to promote sustainability by ensuring that waste by-products, such as packaging, can be recycled.

“As experts in waste management, we can help companies stay up-to-date with the latest waste legislation and new technologies. Our team can advise on alternative ways to reduce the environmental impact of packaging waste, and we also work with suppliers to look at more sustainable options for the supply chain.”

“By providing advice and guidance on best practice options, we know we can make a real difference and help deliver major savings as well as improving recycling rates,” concluded Brewer.

It’s estimated that if just 25% of the hospitality and food service sector were to embrace food waste collection services, they could save up to £76 million by the end of 2015 and reduce their CO2 (e) impact by 570,000 tonnes.

* Research from the Sustainable Restaurant Association

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