Cut food waste to cut expenses

• Food waste must be separated for collection.
• Food waste must be separated for collection.

Operators can take steps to reduce recycling costs

ENVIRONMENTAL business practices are becoming increasingly important to the licensed trade – and will be more important still at the start of next year.
Many in the trade will already have been affected by waste regulations that came into force in January 2014, requiring businesses that produce more than 50kg of food waste a week to have that waste separated and collected for recycling.
From January 2016 those rules will also apply to businesses producing more than 5kg of food waste.
Arranging waste collection can be costly and so bar and pub operators have been advised to try and cut their waste as much as possible.
Charles Gray, director of Gray Composting Services, said: “One of the best ways to reduce food waste is to identify what is wasted and when it’s wasted – so do an audit.
“Some businesses offer different sized meal portions to help cut down on waste. It also helps to buy local or in season fruit and veg as it has not travelled so far and has a longer shelf life.
“Less peeling of vegetables also produces less waste.”
The composting firm offers to weigh its customers’ food bins and email them weight details, which Gray said encourages them to reduce waste.
Reducing food waste in the hospitality sector is a major focus for the Scottish Government. Zero Waste Scotland, the Scottish Government-funded body, estimates the hospitality and food service sector disposes of an estimated 53,000 tonnes of food waste every year.
To reduce wastage, a spokesman for the organisation suggested operators create a menu with fewer items and introduce a ‘special of the day’.
“Correct storage, preparation of food and portioning sizes can also help to reduce the amount wasted,” he said.
Choosing the right food waste specialist to work with is important, and environmental firms recommend using a local food waste contractor which does not use landfill sites.
But bar and pub operators should be wary of what’s included in collection costs.
“Make sure [to check] what is on offer for the price; some waste contractors charge for every bin on the site even if there is no waste in it,” said Gray.
Robin Stevenson of the William Tracey Group said there has been “a relatively high level of compliance” among businesses with last year’s waste regulations.
But he claimed there are still operators not recycling waste correctly, which can ultimately have a financial impact on their business.
“These businesses are not only putting themselves at risk of a significant fine (up to £10,000), but are also missing the opportunity to increase their recycling and reduce their general waste,” said Stevenson.