Fantastic food waste management or room for improvement?
Why you need an effective food waste management programme
According to research from Mintel, around one third (1.3 billion tonnes) of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted – with the biggest culprits being the EU and North America, with approximately 100kg wasted per person per year.
Losses at production level are particularly high: around 20% of fresh foods like fruits and vegetables wasted at this stage. At domestic level, UK household food waste management has improved dramatically in the last decade, yet we are still throwing away 4.2 million tonnes of food and drink every year.
This is the equivalent of six meals every week for an average family home.
There’s a common misconception that food waste biodegrades harmlessly, with little impact on the environment. Yet food waste sent to landfill doesn’t just break down: as it rots, it releases methane – a harmful greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
We should all be doing more wherever possible and be more mindful about the food we buy and waste at home – not to mention how far it’s travelled and the packaging it comes in.
Retailers and hoteliers are playing their part
Businesses should also be stepping up their food waste management. IKEA has recently launched its food waste scheme, Food is Precious, to cut waste in its food operations by 50% by the end of 2020. So far, over 20% of IKEA stores have implemented the solution.
This translates into an incredible 176,000 saved meals!
IKEA has also become a member of Champions 12.3, the global coalition for food waste hosted by the World Resource Institute.
According to Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow and Director of Food Loss and Waste at World Resources Institute, the co-secretariat of Champions 12.3: “The power of this unique coalition is bringing together high-profile leaders across the sectors impacting the global food supply. They can motivate and demonstrate that reducing food loss and waste is both possible and necessary.”
Unilever is also a member of Champions 12.3, and they are working with the organisation to halve per capital global food waste at both retail and consumer levels. They’re also working to reduce food losses in production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses, by 2030.
Additionally, they offer their employees volunteering opportunities to tackle food waste and hunger, while also investing in developing food banks across Central and Eastern Europe.
The hotel industry is now beginning to play a vital role. Chains such as Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott International are all taking part in trials to test new food waste management methods.
Momentum is building across continents and business sectors.
Think twice about food to landfill
Recycling plastic, cardboard and glass products is now second-nature to most households and businesses, yet managing food waste often seems less important.
If we take a step back and examine what’s being thrown away every day, however, it might prompt people to think twice about throwing leftovers and out of date products into the landfill bin.
It’s only when you start to measure and weigh food waste that you can realise just how much is getting binned and the impact this has on the environment.
We all have a responsibility as individuals, and businesses have their part to play as well, through leading by example and showing us what can be achieved and how.
If you’re a business that would like to explore how you could improve your food waste management, our team can help.
We’ll examine your current waste and recycling habits and demonstrate how and where improvements could be made, including how to minimise food waste. By shifting the balance and sending less to the dump, you should also be able to save money on landfill tax.
Contact our team now to take a fresh look at your food waste management programme.