A guide to food waste
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. Thehe 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 at Business Waste for free today.
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- Un-saleable food that’s out of date (from shops and supermarkets)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 in 2007. 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 an 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.