More to be Achieved with Food and Packaging Waste Recycling

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More to be Achieved with Food and Packaging Waste Recycling

WRAP has reported that its food and packaging recycling targets were only partially met for its 2012-2015 initiative.

UK businesses who signed up to the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement (HaFSA) implemented a number of measures to reduce food and packaging waste between 2012 and 2015. Two targets were set:

  • Prevention: To reduce food waste and associated packaging waste arising by 5% by the end of 2015. This was against the 2012 baseline and was measured by CO2e emissions saved.
  • Waste management: To increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste recycled and sent to anaerobic digestion or composted to at least 70% by the end of 2015.

Several initiatives were set up to help achieve of these targets, including best practice guidance distributed, technical support offered, a waste management working group being set up to review existing services and the development of new schemes for food waste and recycling collection.

WRAP has reported that the food and packaging reduction target was met, with 11% reduction achieved rather than the target of 5%. However, household food waste grew during the three year period. Stores and manufacturers did however make savings, with improvements made in food and packaging recycling streams. The growth in recycling and repurposing reached 56%, an increase of one third on the baseline year and an improvement on last year’s result of 42%.

WRAP cites the main reason behind this result as the length of time it took to implement recycling contracts and incorporate food waste collections.

Meanwhile, the Courtauld Commitment’s third phase aimed to reduce household food waste by 5% and food packaging by 3% over three years. In reality the food waste figure actually rose by an estimated 300,000 tonnes during that time. However, grocery retailers and manufacturers are estimated to have made combined food savings of over £100 million from participating in the initiative. Recycling and recovery of the manufacturing and packaging waste grew from 95% to 99%.

Making savings

Businesses involved in the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement (HaFSA) saved an estimated £67 million through their combined actions to prevent food waste. To make improvements and achieve these savings, organisations can improve their recycling and repurposing in many ways:

  • More effective waste handling processes
  • More efficient equipment, saving staff time and requiring fewer collections
  • Use of backhaul so large volumes of waste are dealt with more efficiently
  • Vertical balers can make recycling a profitable business. They save labour, reducing costs and creating revenue.
  • Use of self-cleaning compactors – these modern compactors work incredibly efficiently and require minimal staff effort. They are especially popular in the food industry as they help with food recycling/digestion. The unit is self-cleaning and fully sealed, providing a hygienic way of handling this difficult waste stream. The fully sealed waste compartment also prevents access by rodents.

There is scope for all companies to improve their facilities and beat their own targets. Recycling equipment and waste management processes are easier than ever to implement. If you’re not sure where to start, our free site review identifies how to make your process more streamlined, and can even show you exactly how much money you could be saving.

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