THE WASTE toolkit designed by Unilever Food Solutions is free. So it’s perhaps a little disheartening that, two years on from its launch, just 800 operators have downloaded it (leaving 150,000 that haven’t).
More should, if the results in a recent case study at Erskine Bridge Hotel in Glasgow are anything to go by. The hotel, which serves up to 2,500 meals a week, tracked its food waste for just one week and found the breakfast buffet was to blame for the lion’s share of food waste: 17kg of beans, sausages and toast on one morning alone. Its head chef, Mark Potter, has now gone for plated meals instead – “a simple shift that’ll save us hundreds of pounds each month”, he says.
On a global basis the economic cost of food waste is a little heftier – more like $750 billion (£475 billion). That’s according to a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation. The study, “Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources”, also suggests that food that is produced and then wasted adds 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The FAO has, alongside the report, created a toolkit with recommendations on cutting food waste along the supply chain. Unilever’s toolkit is highlighted as an example of some of the initiatives already out there.
Waste just got technical with news that the Carbon Trust has developed an international standard for waste. The catchily titled Waste Standard will apparently be the first of its kind and will complement the original Carbon Standard and the Water Standard. The standard is to be officially unveiled this year, and the theory is that it will encourage more organisations to take a “stringent approach” to resources by measuring, managing and reducing their waste. According to research by the trust, just 21% of senior execs at large companies in the UK, US, China, South Korea and Brazil have sustainability targets for waste, while 49% are not yet confident that there is a business case for investing in waste management. Foodservice, of course, has its own voluntary agreement set up to better monitor and reduce waste, the first data from which is due any time soon.