THE HOSPITALITY sector is set to spend an extra £32 million pounds this year sending food waste to landfill, according to the UK ’s leading food waste recycler, ReFood. Landfill tax increased by £8 per tonne on 1st April 2014, taking the cost per tonne to £80.
Each year, the UK ’s 260,000 catering and hospitality outlets produce around four million tonnes of food waste. This waste is an increasingly large – and double – cost for hospitality businesses as they pay to purchase the food and then again to dispose of it. Through improved planning, portioning, management, storage and preparation almost two thirds of the waste produced could instead be sold and eaten.
Hospitality outlets can also make further savings by separating food waste for recycling. It is estimated by ReFood that recycling food waste can be as much as 45% cheaper than sending it to landfill. Furthermore, the collected food waste can be recycled via anaerobic digestion to generate renewable energy and a nutrient rich fertiliser, which can be used to grow new food crops.
Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood, comments: “Food waste is a valuable resource and one we shouldn’t be leaving to rot in landfill sites. With annual rises in landfill tax, separating food waste for recycling makes sound and long term economic, as well as environmental sense.”
Separating out food waste also helps hospitality businesses understand and measure exactly what types of food waste are being generated and in what quantities and take steps to prevent waste arising in the first place.
As of 2014, legislation in Scotland now requires hospitality businesses producing more than 50kg of food waste per week to separate it for recycling and similar policies are planned in Wales and Northern Ireland . The industry is also campaigning for similar policies to come into force in England. ReFood recently launched its Vision 2020; UK roadmap to zero food waste to landfill by 2020 which aimed to set the wheels in motion as to how the UK’s food chain can encourage behavioural change and achieve the goal of eradicating food waste from landfill.
The report highlights best practice examples from across the sector. For example, Unilever Food Solutions has reported numerous successes. Among these, Kings Valley Hotel in Ireland has saved 7% on its purchase of food, while Frimley Hall Hotel identified that garnishes were largely uneaten and saved £100 per month by removing them from plates altogether.
Simpson adds: “Achieving zero food waste to landfill is a big challenge but it is an achievable one. By focusing on sustainable sourcing, measures to prevent waste, as well as how to employ best practice in dealing with the waste that is produced, the hospitality industry can avoid the considerable costs associated with landfill and we can ensure that sustainability is built into the heart of the sector for years to come.”
Hospitality businesses can calculate how much energy and nutrient rich fertiliser their waste can produce, as well as C02 savings at http://www.refood.co.uk/. Businesses can also sign up to the Vision to eradicating food waste from landfill at http://www.vision2020.info/ and download a full copy of the Vision 2020 Roadmap.
Hear ReFoods contextualise key findings speaking at Footprint Forum Innovation in Waste session Wednesday 30th April 15.00 on the main stage at Hotelympia.