WRAP IS hoping its shocking study of waste in the hospitality and foodservice sector will be enough to sting businesses into action.
The Government's waste advisers at WRAP have published the most detailed study of waste in the foodservice and hospitality sectors ever. The idea is to shock businesses, with data including the “true cost” of food waste, and then provide guidance on how to take action.
“Our report outlines steps that will empower industry to tackle this problem, by wasting less and recycling more,” said WRAP’s programme manager for hospitality and foodservice, Charlotte Henderson. “When you consider the average annual cost per outlet is an estimated £10,000, it makes business sense to save money by reducing food waste.”
The report provides analysis of the waste produced in each of nine subsectors including restaurants, quick-service restaurants, hotels, pubs, leisure, healthcare, education, staff catering and services. It includes a breakdown of the type of food being wasted, as well as the cost of this food waste for each sub-sector. The headline figures are staggering: 2.87m tonnes of waste, including 920,000 of food waste. The annual bill for food waste alone is £2.5 billion, which equates to around £2,800 a tonne. To put this into perspective, landfill tax currently stands at £72 a tonne.
Speaking during an interview on FootprintChannel.TV (available on demand) – on which the results were announced, see opposite – WRAP’s director of sustainable food systems, Richard Swannell, said the data provided the business case for action on food waste given that the true cost of food waste (which includes transport, production, preparation and so on) is now available.
“Twelve per cent of food waste is currently recycled, so there is real scope to drive that significantly higher.” This sector “must take advantage of the new [anaerobic digestion] infrastructure to recycle more” of its food waste.
Swannell also announced that 170 supporters and signatories were now signed up to the Hospitality and Foodservice Agreement on waste – compared with just 70 this time last year. This represents a quarter of the sector by turnover, and he encouraged more businesses to get involved as the initiative moves into its next phase: delivering change. WRAP’s new microsite, available through the Footprint website, will support the sector in reducing waste recycling more, with access to information and practical advice on food waste recycling collections, including posters, bin labels and case studies.