Food waste has been a hot topic lately, with widespread reporting of hospitality venues having to throw out large volumes of food due to changing Covid restrictions, and increasing scrutiny of how retailers dispose of food waste.
The pressure to dispose of food waste responsibly has several elements - from a CSR and sustainability perspective, food waste should be used productively as a resource, in order to positively impact the environment or the community in some way. Financially, it is also beneficial to ensure that food is not ending up in general waste, but being treated in a more cost-effective, low carbon manner.
Reducing your food waste
In the first instance, your priority should be to reduce the amount of food waste that your business produces, in line with the waste hierarchy. This could involve modifying manufacturing processes, or analysing your food packaging to see where improvements could be made, which our Sustainable Packaging Academy could support.
How can you reuse food waste?
For unavoidable food waste, redistribution schemes are becoming increasingly popular. These enable surplus food to be redistributed to those deemed most in need by relevant charities, enabling you to dispose of food in a way that supports a circular economy as well as your CSR credentials.
Food waste can also be reused as new materials, for example, animal feed, allowing it to have a valuable second life rather than being disposed of. Identification of suitable food waste is key to this, for example, vegetables and dairy waste, so that appropriate foodstuff can be sent on to a processing site. The waste can then be treated and turned into animal feed, or other products such as fertiliser. This enables you to incorporate food waste as part of your sustainability plans whilst unlocking its potential value.
Recovering energy from food waste
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is an alternative disposal route for food waste. The process breaks down waste and converts it into biogas, which can then be used as green energy for electricity or heat. The power generated can be used on-site or put back into the grid, so AD can help form part of a circular solution.
We understand that food waste is often a necessary part of your business's operations, and that different volumes or types of food waste require different solutions.
We can work with you to help you implement the waste hierarchy in your business to reduce the amount of food waste created, and then ensure that any food waste that is created has a sustainable, cost-effective reuse or treatment route.