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Managing food waste

Wasted food is not only wasted energy and money, it damages the environment by contributing to climate change. Here you'll find guidance about monitoring and measuring, how to prevent food waste in hospitality and food service as well as manufacturing. And, how to redistribute surplus food.


Reducing food waste in Scotland to meet the 33% target

Reducing food waste is not only a cost-cutting imperative, it’s an essential element in combating climate change and meeting new, food waste legislation. Since 1 January 2016, any urban food business generating more than 5kg of food waste, should be seperating food waste for collection to comply with the Waste (Scotland) Regulations.

An estimated 1.35 million tonnes of food and drink waste was disposed of in Scotland in 2013. Around half of this came from businesses. Decisions made at every point in our food supply chain, from the farm to our plate affect how and where food and drink waste occurs. The Scottish Government has set a food waste reduction target of 33% by 2025 as part of the Make Things Last Strategy. Every player in the food chain has a role to play in preventing avoidable waste, whether we are consumers, or in the business of food.

Whether your business is hospitality, retail, or food and drink production, we have the guidance, resources and personal support that will help you prevent food waste and its associated costs to your organisation. 

Guide on monitoring and measuring to prevent food waste

Why measure food waste? You can’t manage what you don’t measure. 

Data obtained from measuring food waste can identify where food waste is coming from and highlight necessary actions to reduce the waste. For example, if customer plate waste is an issue it might be beneficial to offer smaller portion sizes, or if floor waste from a manufacturing site is substantial it might be worth investing in catch trays.

Use our guide to realise the true cost of waste to your business.  

Hospitality and food service sector

The cost of food waste from the UK hospitality and service sector was estimated at over £2.5 billion in 2016. That’s not small potatoes.

Most business do not realise how much food waste costs them. For example, a 240 litre wheeled bin filled with food waste costs around £240 for food purchase costs and waste disposal alone. One food waste bin weekly over the year could potentially cost a business more than £12,000.

Did you realise that, for every meal your food-based business serves up, approximately half a kilo of food waste is produced? Which amounts to almost £1 per serving?

One is six meals within the hospitality and food service sector is thrown away - that’s money in the bin.

You will already be doing a lot to prevent waste. Our comprehensive guide on how to reduce food waste in the hospitality and food service sector aims to provide you with some more ideas. We’ll guide you through your very own food waste revolution covering;

  • Good housekeeping – from shopping lists to freezer labels to optimal use of raw ingredients
  • Thoughtful menu planning from covering design, purchasing and ordering.
  • Practical tips on food storage and how to improve operational efficiency, handing and preparation.

Plus read about how to engage your staff and customers – with the Good to Go doggy boxes, in your food waste reduction efforts. 

Manufacturing sector – guide on food waste prevention

Food waste generated in the food and drink manufacturing sector costs businesses an estimated £950 per tonne. The food manufacturing and processing industry has a key role to play in helping to reduce food waste.

Our guide covers how your manufacturing business can optimise your process in three steps.

  1. Identifying areas of waste
  2. Implementing improvements and,
  3. How to turn your waste stream into an income stream.

The Circular Economy business principals apply to food waste too, and we bring you some inspirational tales about how some Scottish businesses are profiting from the clever use of waste. Read about how bread, potatoes and crustacean shells are underpinning product development for; Breadshare, Ogilvy Spirits, Swannay Brewery, Jaw Brew and Aulds Bakery as well as Pennotec.

Guidance on how to prevent food waste in the retail sector

The Scottish retail sector has been estimated to generate approximately 31,000 tonnes of food waste annually. Efforts to reduce this waste present opportunities to save retailers money whilst reducing Scotland’s food waste and carbon footprint. Making retail sector improvements on food waste prevention will help achieve the Scottish Government’s target to reduce food waste in Scotland by 33% by 2025. Our retail guide highlights the key areas of food waste generation within the Scottish retail sector and identifies the key steps that organisations can take to limit their environmental impact and improve their resource and cost efficiencies.

Guidance on how to treat food waste on-site

Not all food waste is entirely avoidable, even when all reasonable efforts are made to prevent or redistribute waste. Exploring anaerobic digestion, composting and wormeries as means of managing and disposing of waste responsibly and lessening environmental impact.

Surplus food redistribution

Although food waste prevention at source should be the key priority, food redistribution is an alternative if surplus food still arises. Companies, charities and individuals can all benefit from the redistribution of surplus food.

Zero Waste Scotland has developed a Food Redistribution Guidance Document in conjunction with Food Standards Scotland to tell you all you need to know about how to redistribute surplus food including food safety considerations and how to identify surplus food.

Working with WRAP Zero Waste Scotland have developed a Redistribution Framework which helps organisations increase volumes of food redistributed in the UK. The Redistribution Framework is intended to help individual providers and recipients to adopt or adapt their own processes and choices for handling surplus, to fit with existing ways of working, while making it easier for multiple organisations to work with each other.

Need some support?

We can provide:

  • Specialist, one-to-one consultations, to help analyse your unique food waste issues, and support you in implementing changes including sourcing equipment and accessing loans
  • Support for training staff in food waste management and on-going monitoring
  • Good to Go resources, including doggy-bags and stickers, to encourage your customers to contribute to food waste reduction

We're here to help you reduce your food waste and improve your bottom line

We can help you turn your food waste mountain into a more manageable molehill, saving you money and helping Scotland achieve its ambitious climate change, renewable energy and zero waste targets. For help and a detailed assessment of opportunities for saving waste in your business, call us on 0808 808 2269 or email foodanddrink@resourceefficientscotland.com and ask about our free food waste audits.

Our support to reduce your business costs through food waste prevention and reduction are funded by the Scottish Government and by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

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