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A guide to food waste disposal and collections
Whether you’re at home or at work, food waste is an issue that affects everyone. Globally each year, an estimated 1.3bn tonnes of food (around a third of all that is produced) goes to waste, including approximately 45% of all fruit and vegetables, 35% of seafood, 30% of grains and cereals, 20% of dairy and 20% of meat products. That means that roughly 30% of the world’s agricultural land is effectively wasted – which is worrying given the current predictions that we will need 60% more agricultural production by 2050 to keep up with a growing global population.
Food Waste Management
Everyone has a part to play in reducing their food waste – perhaps none more so than businesses who produce significant amounts of commercial food waste. It’s a topic we frequently get asked about – what are your legal obligations as an organisation? And how can you improve how you dispose of food waste? At Business Waste, we’re a leading UK food waste collection and disposal company, helping companies nationwide to dispose of their waste safely and responsibly. This guide aims to provide some answers to those common questions.
What is food waste?
Food waste is food that is discarded, uneaten or partially eaten. Food waste can happen at any stage of its lifecycle, including at production, processing, selling and consumption. In developed countries like the UK, most food is lost at the consumption stage – an estimated 100kg per person per year. There’s a huge number of regulations surrounding the production and serving of food in the UK, putting in place the processes and procedures for dealing with potentially unsafe and unusable foodstuffs. The Government’s WRAP guide offers a full list of rules and how to ensure your business complies with them, or just speak to an expert who is already well versed with the food waste standards at Business Waste for free today.
Long gone are the days where everything was lumped into buckets and sent off for what was euphemistically termed ″pig swill″. For a start, much food waste that was sent to farms turned out to be downright hazardous even for pigs, and second, it was found that other ways of disposing of this kind of refuse were far more efficient.
With figures showing the huge waste of food in the United Kingdom, with anything from a third to a half of all food going to waste in some areas, it falls to household, businesses, local authorities, and waste management companies to cut down on waste.
How to deal with food waste
The primary driver for cutting down on food waste – particularly in the food retail sector where waste can reach ridiculous levels – is the landfill tax. If food waste is disposed of in landfill as part of general waste, it soon becomes a very expensive activity for any organisation. This being the case, specialist food waste collections which avoid landfill should be encouraged.
The environmental advantages are clear to see, when food waste is disposed of in the residual waste stream as part of landfill, it breaks down anaerobically and produces the greenhouse gas methane. With careful management, food waste can be broken down under controlled environments and this methane used as a means to generate power. Even then, this needs to be controlled, as the burning of methane in oxygen will produce carbon dioxide, as any chemist will tell you.
So, to keep things clean, this process is done by anaerobic digestion (the subject of another blog post) or by vessel composting. In these cases, the by-products can be applied to agricultural land and there is far less environmental harm.
In this way, with organised food waste collections and processing, this kind of refuse can be put to good use, and the UK’s diminishing landfill capacity is safeguarded.
Some common types of commercial food waste might include:
- Solid and liquid food by-products from agriculture, the manufacturing process or food and drink processing
- Un-saleable food that’s out of date (from shops and supermarkets)
- Leftover food from restaurants and food preparation waste
- Bakery and packaged food waste.
Food Waste Collection
What does the law say about disposing of food waste?
Since the First World War, food waste has been considered a priority and has been the subject of ongoing media attention, intensifying more recently with the “Love Food, Hate Waste” campaign. Thanks to the continuing media spotlight through figureheads like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, public awareness of the issue has never been higher. In response to the European Landfill Directive and international climate change targets, the government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) was founded in 2000.
In addition to WRAP’s guidance, the Food Standards Agency has set out what’s practically expected of businesses when it comes to their food waste disposal. They state:
- Organisations must remove food waste from areas where fresh food is present as quickly as possible to avoid cross-contamination.
- Food waste must be disposed of in containers that can be sealed shut, are made of appropriately robust material, are kept in good condition, and are easy to clean and disinfect.
- You must also have adequate facilities for keeping and disposing of food waste, as well as other rubbish.
- Waste stores need to be well designed and managed to keep them clean and free from animals and pests.
- When finally disposing of food waste, it must be done in a hygienic and environmentally friendly way, in accordance with your local authority’s rules about the way certain types of food waste must be collected and disposed of.
- Enforced by your local food inspectors, there must be no signs of contamination from waste to food preparation.
In short, by disposing of as little food waste as possible in line with WRAP’s guidelines – and ensuring that all waste disposed of is done in a safe, clean and responsible way to comply with the FSA – you’ll be staying within your legal requirements as a business that handles food.
Food Waste Bin
What type of bin do you need for food waste?
Under the FSA’s rules, food waste should be disposed of in a durable, easy to clean bin that’s ideally colour coded and sealable to avoid pests, cross-contamination with active food preparation areas and spillages. A leading waste disposal company, like us, will supply the right food waste bins to make sure you comply with the regulations.
Food Waste Collection Companies
How can Business Waste help?
The Environmental Protection Act of 1990 encourages a Duty of Care on all businesses to remove business waste with as little impact on the environment as possible. A leading UK waste management company, we’ll provide the expertise to deliver the right disposal solutions for your food waste, in line with the EU, UK and your local authority guidelines. Let us save you the time and money you’d spend trying to keep abreast of legislative changes by being your food waste management experts, leaving you to get on with running your business.
We’ll start by conducting a thorough site visit so we can tailor the right bins, collections and process recommendations to your organisation. We also ensure that your actual waste input is kept to an absolute minimum, recycling as much as possible to help you to lower your business’ carbon footprint and meet your climate change objectives.
We will also supply a Waste Transfer Note (WTN) which forms part of your legal requirements for taking care of your commercial waste. Our account waste auditor team also enables you to keep track of your waste production, helping you to report on your business’ output over time and saving you time in administration to prove you’ve met the legislative requirements.
Food waste is a huge burden on UK landfill sites. Each year, around 18 million tonnes of food fails to be recycled and instead is sent to landfill.
Lack of food waste recycling and poor food waste management can result in huge costs for businesses, overflowing landfills and permanent environmental damage.
Having an efficient food waste management system in place can help save your business time, money and resources. Our qualified waste advisors can provide your organisation with an extensive food waste management system, to ensure that you are managing your food waste recycling and disposal suitably and sufficiently.
Food Waste Recycling
We can provide organisations with effective ways to reduce their commercial food waste and costs by recycling the following items:
- School food waste
- Catering businesses food waste
- Supermarket food waste
- Damaged or expired stock
- Food processing waste
- Drinks and brewery waste
- Festival and event food waste
Business Waste is committed to reducing the unnecessary amount of food waste that ends up being sent to landfill. Not only is this extremely bad for the environment, but it is also extremely costly for businesses due to the ever increasing landfill tax.
By ensuring that your business has an adequate food waste management system in place, you could save your business money and improve your environmental image, simply through food waste recycling.
Commercial Food Waste Recycling
Food waste can account for approximately 30% of the waste which organisations produce. We offer commercial food waste recycling for all types of businesses, to ensure that they have an adequate and efficient food waste management system. We use the latest technology to recycle your commercial food waste, so it can be re-used and help sustain a greener environment for all.
We offer food waste management and commercial food waste recycling to organisations across the country. Our qualified waste management teams are strategically based throughout the UK, enabling us to provide clients with a food waste management service that is frequent, reliable and local to you.
There are many regulations surrounding food waste, due to the fact that certain foods can not be landfilled. It is essential that you know what the regulations require of your business or else you could be breaking the law.
For further information on commercial food waste recycling or our food waste management programmes, contact us today to speak to one of our expert advisors. We are happy to answer any queries that you may have, and we can also offer you a free quote. So call us today on 0800 211 8390.