Food Waste in the Food Service Industry

There is no doubt that the food service industry has seen huge growth in Australia over the last decade. Australia has a productive food manufacturing industry, employing thousands of people right across the country. But have you ever considered how much waste this industry generates and where it all goes? According to the NPD?there were?nearly 5 billion visits to Australian food service establishments totalling $43 billion in the 12 months ending March 2015.?A recent article I read called?Sustainability, Ethics and Community in the Food Industry?by?shopforcoffeebeans?is a reminder of how important it is to ensure that waste is minimised as much as possible.

Waste Management BinThe food service industry produces a range of waste including, obviously, a lot of food waste. The rest of the waste produced by restaurants and cafe’s is reasonably easy to recycle. Cardboard and paper recycling is available in most cities and towns as is glass recycling and commingled recycling.

How food manufacturing businesses can improve their waste management

Waste management programmes in the food manufacturing industry are essential to ensuring a business?s ongoing environmental sustainability. They need to include systems and processes for treating food waste, cardboard packaging waste and general waste. Fortunately, there are a number of creative ways that food manufacturing businesses can do their bit and contribute to a sustainable future.

Food waste

While the goal of food manufacturing businesses is to improve efficiencies and minimise waste during the production process, some food waste is inevitable. Rather than send this waste to landfill, food manufacturing businesses should consider donating this product as food for livestock.

Cardboard waste

Food manufacturing businesses generate large volumes of cardboard waste. Recycling cardboard packaging is one of the simplest waste management tactics a food manufacturing business can implement and it can also save a business lots of money. To avoid sending used cardboard packaging to landfill, food manufacturing businesses should separate their cardboard waste into designated skip bins for recycling by a waste management collection service. Food manufacturing businesses should also consider installing a cardboard baler to compact their cardboard waste and reduce the size and volume of cardboard loaded into skip bins. In turn, this space-saving initiative will reduce the number of cardboard waste collections per week, resulting in an immediate cost saving. T2 Environmental can help businesses save 30% on business waste collection costs.

General waste

Office staff and production staff contribute personally to the food manufacturing sector?s general waste. Food manufacturing businesses should consider introducing general waste and recycling waste bins to all staff areas and remind staff to separate their waste for weekly wheelie bin collections. Coffee drinkers are big general waste generators. Consider establishing a small kitchen bin for used coffee grounds to be added to the garden beds as a natural insecticide and soil booster and encourage staff to use their own mugs for coffee breaks, rather than styrofoam or plastic cups.

So what are the options for restaurants and cafe’s that produce a lot of food waste, coffee grounds and tea bags but want to reduce the waste being sent to landfill?

One option is to engage with a waste management supplier that can provide you with a food waste collection bin. Unfortunately these are not available across Australia but if you are in Melbourne or Sydney then food waste collections are definitely available. Food waste collections tend to work out more expensive than general waste collections so you will need to pay more in this case for your environmental awareness. This is simply because it costs more money to process the food waste in the composting facilities that are available in Sydney and Melbourne than it does to send the food to landfill. This situation will change in the future once the landfill levy increases and the costs for food waste processing start to decrease.

Worm farm habitatAnother option, if you have the space, is to purchase a worm farm. Worms Farms are a brilliant way of turning your food service business into a sustainable initiative. Worms are nature’s way of dealing with coffee grounds and foodwaste with a secondary benefit of exceptional compost and fertilising worm juice for your garden. We can provide your business with a range of Worm Farms so if you are keen to start reducing the amount of food waste you send to landfill please get in touch now.

As a food service business, reducing the amount of food waste you send to landfill is not only beneficial for the environment but it can also help your profit margins. Your general waste collection service costs money and the more waste you produce the more expensive it will be. Landfill levy’s are rising across Australia and if we follow the path of Europe then they are only going to go higher. Therefore reducing or eliminating food waste will save your business money.

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