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Ten top reasons why preventing food waste is a great idea

Wasting food wastes money and resources, and impacts us all. If you’re still lacking the will to drive food waste reductions through your business, read on for ten great reasons to take action.


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Most food businesses understand that preventing food waste is a good idea – it stops you wasting money, cuts your waste uplift bills and it helps tackle climate change. But if you’re still struggling to find the motivation, we’re here to help. Read on for ten great reasons why wasting less food is a great idea… 

1. You really can save money

It’s worth repeating and it’s worth putting up front – preventing food waste can save you money. When Crieff Hydro Hotel took part in an eight-week trial to measure and monitor wasted food in its restaurant operation, it revealed where changes could be made that would reduce waste and save the business £51,000 a year. An Indian restaurant business in Glasgow discovered that simply changing portion sizes would save them over £5,000 a year. Preventing food waste requires little up-front investment. In fact, it’s probably the easiest and cheapest of all the resource savings measures you can take. So what are you waiting for…?

 

2. Your customers will love you

As people become more aware about climate issues and more discerning in their choices, putting in place a food waste reduction regime shows that you care. And customers care that you care. A Global Corporate Sustainability Report published by Nielson in 2015  found that, globally, 66 per cent of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. Millennials gave an even more impressive showing, with 73 per cent of surveyed millennials indicating a similar preference. Now that’s food for thought.

 

3. It’s an ethically responsible thing to do

We’re often told that wasting food is bad when so many people in the world are hungry. And it’s true. As children, we might have worked out that eating your brussel sprouts won’t directly save a starving child, but if we could stop throwing away a third of our food waste then pressure on food production would lessen. This would allow costs to come down and benefit poorer areas of the world. Of course, there’s a host of complex political and economic issues at play but in the words of one famous retailer, every little helps.

 

4. We need to save energy and carbon emissions

There’s no getting around the fact that global warming is happening. And around a quarter of carbon emissions worldwide come from agriculture and forestry. Food production and distribution uses copious amounts of energy, especially in more intensive industrial-scale agriculture. The big agricultural machines used for planting, harvesting and processing are hungry fossil fuel expenders. The synthetic nitrogen fertilisers used to grow food are made from fossil fuels. Then moving food from field to mouth uses another mighty chunk of energy.  Cutting food waste cuts energy use and saves carbon emissions at all these stages.

 

5. You’ll be doing your bit to help Scotland meet its ambitious food waste target

As a nation, we’ve made a small dent in reducing our food waste over the last decade, but we still have a long way to go. Scotland is committed to reducing our food waste mountain, by 33 per cent by 2025 and by 50 per cent by 2030. Let’s tear it down together – the view’s much better without all that waste in the way.

 

6. It helps to halt the insidious growth of your local landfill site

Carbon was burned in the growing, processing and shipping of your banana, avocado or hamburger. If food then bypasses its main destination (someone’s tummy) and ends up in a black sack dumped in landfill, it rots and releases some pretty noxious gases.  There’s a reason why landfill sites smell bad, and food is the main culprit. Food waste breaks down into methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases. And on top of that, all the life-giving nutrients that were sucked up from the soil to grow the food, go to waste.

 

7. It preserves our most precious resourcewater

A staggering 69 per cent of the water consumed in the world is used for agriculture. For example, it takes an eye-watering 2,400 litres of water to make one hamburger. And one tomato drinks up around 27 litres. While water shortage is never a top concern in Scotland, it’s a major issue worldwide. A lot of the food we enjoy is grown in hot, dry areas of the world where aquifers are being drained. When we stop wasting food, we stop wasting water. 

 

8. You'll be helping to protect nature and wildlife

Growing food uses up a lot of land. If we cut food waste then we can give the acres we don’t need back to nature and wildlife. Wild places perform a multitude of ecosystem services – soaking up carbon, providing clean air and water, and preventing floods. Wildlife is under threat around the world. If we stop wasting food we can give nature a home and help it, and us, thrive…

 

9. What’s good for others is good for you

When your staff, customers and suppliers know what you’re doing and why, it creates a sense of camaraderie. We’re all in this planet saving business together, and reducing food waste is a major global imperative. If you can help awaken consciousness and alter habits, then you’re playing a crucial role in shaping a healthy and prosperous future for all of us. And that just makes good business sense.  

 

10. It keeps you on the right side of the law

While the carrot is always preferable to the stick, there are regulations now that every large food business should be aware of. The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 act requires that urban food businesses such as restaurants, leisure clubs, cafes, hotels, schools and nursing homes separate out food waste. Think of the time you’ll save if you don’t have much to separate…

 

We can help you prevent food waste

If you’re a food and drink business, we can help you prevent unnecessary food waste. Call 0808 808 2269 or email foodanddrink@resourceefficientscotland.com and ask about our free food waste audits.

 

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