Recent studies estimate that 14% of the food we produce within the UK is wasted – whether this relates to the food left on your plate after a meal at a restaurant or expired produce thrown away by retailers and supermarkets. However, given that thousands of people worldwide are going without food every day, it’s clear that this number needs to be reduced – and quickly. As such, business owners have a particular responsibility to better manage (and reduce) the food waste they produce.
To put it simply, food waste refers to any form of food waste that is not used or consumed. Unfortunately, food waste can occur at any point during its lifecycle – whether that be during production, processing, transportation, distribution or consumption. Common examples of food waste include:
Food that has passed its sell-by or use-by date.
Expired products that are not safe for consumption.
Leftover food from foodservice and entertainment venues.
Preparation waste. (Peelings, shavings etc.)
We are all guilty of producing some form of food waste in our daily lives. However, food waste is typically produced in excess in the following industries:
The Retail Industry. Supermarkets, grocery stores, bakeries and other retailers produce large volumes of food waste every single day. This is often due to the fact that they must follow strict health and safety regulations relating to how long they can store food on their properties. For example, they may purchase large volumes of fresh fruit and vegetables that exceed their sell-by date and therefore can no longer be sold.
The Food Service Industry. As the name indicates, the foodservice industry also produces large volumes of food waste. This includes venues such as restaurants, bars, takeaways and cafes. Furthemore, they produce lots of different kinds of food waste – such as preparation waste and leftovers.
The Hospitality Industry. Hospitality and entertainment venues also contribute significantly to food waste, including venues such as hotels, theatres and cinemas. This is due to the fact that they often serve food and drink as part of their daily operations, and as such, some food waste is unavoidable. For example, it’s near impossible to eat popcorn in the cinema without spilling a little, right?
The Agricultural Industry. Agricultural waste, produced by farmers, also includes some form of food waste. For example, this could include crops that were not properly harvested because they were damaged by changes in the weather or pests. Improper handling of crops could also result in them being unfit for sale.
The Fishing Industry. Poor fishing practices also means that the fishing industry produces large volumes of food waste in the form of goods that simply are not suitable for sale and, as such, must be disposed of accordingly.
According to a recent report by LordsLibrary, in 2018, we produced around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste in the UK alone. While a small percentage of this waste is inedible (bones, etc.), 70% of this waste was initially intended to be purchased and consumed.
Around ⅓ of the food produced each year is wasted.
The UK produces the most food waste in Europe, though the figures are declining steadily.
It’s estimated that we throw around £9.7 million of food waste in the UK each year. This means that the average household will throw away £700 of food annually.
Thankfully, there are various steps that we can take to reduce the amount of food waste we produce on a daily basis. For example:
Those who work within retail or food service venues can reduce food waste by managing stock carefully. For example, they can pay attention to consumer habits and ensure they are not over-buying products that do not sell.
Food waste can be reduced in every industry by ensuring that it is stored appropriately.
Foodservice venues should clearly label all pre-prepared dishes. They should state the ingredients, when the dishes were made and when they must be consumed by.
Retail and food services venues can donate surplus food to local charities and food banks instead of throwing it away.
While not hazardous, if not stored correctly, food waste can be unpleasant to deal with. This is because food waste often releases an unpleasant smell during the decomposition process. As a result, you should ensure that it is stored in the appropriate containers before disposal. At Divert, we can provide you with access to the following Food Waste Bins.
120L food waste bin (Stores 2-3 bags of waste)
240L food waste bin (Stores 3-4 bags of waste)
At Divert, we can help business owners take control of all waste produced in their facilities, including food waste. For example, we can:
Help you put together a unique waste management plan that also details the steps you can take to reduce your waste.
Provide you with free access to the appropriate bins and storage containers for your waste.
Arrange for your waste to be collected on a daily, weekly or monthly basis at a time that suits you.
Ensure that your business has as little impact on the environment as possible by diverting your waste away from landfills and towards the appropriate recycling and treatment facilities.
For more information about the services we offer, or for a quote, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.