The Benefits of Food Waste Recycling for Businesses
It is easy to dismiss the benefits of food waste recycling for a business. Since food is a perishable item, it’s only natural that it might go bad before it is used. However, investing in food waste services that help manage your food waste can help your business in many ways.
Commercial food waste is a massive problem and creates issues for your business as well as the environment. Understanding why it is bad and how food waste services could help can save you money.
What is food waste?
Food waste is defined by FUSIONS as any food that was fit for human consumption but which has to be discarded because it has gone bad or is past its ‘best by’ date. It also includes the inedible parts of the food that have to be discarded, like the peel, seeds or pits, etc.
Whilst this definition seems quite narrow, it encompasses crops that could not be harvested, or were harvested but not used due to fluctuations in demand. Then, further down the supply chain, it includes unsold food, both prepared and unprepared.
How much food waste do we generate as a country?
This, in turn, could be responsible for producing around 36 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
In monetary value, this amount costs about £19 billion. If it is all sent to landfills, that is a considerable blow to the economy.
What are the benefits of recycling food waste?
It’s natural for you to be asking why you should be recycling food waste as a business. Let us try to answer that for you.
As we mentioned earlier, food waste has a cost attached to it. By recycling it, you can mitigate some of your losses. You also benefit the environment. Here are some benefits of recycling food waste.
That is especially true if your business needs to dispose of cooking oil as part of your food waste.
These regulations mean you need to sort out food waste into appropriate categories before getting rid of it. Unless you use food waste services to manage your waste, it’s an added expense for your business.
On the other hand, a food waste services company can take on some of that load from you. For example, we will remove your food waste from your premises and store it with us before processing it.
We will also take packaged food waste, so you don’t have to sort it. Finally, we will also take care of all the permits and paperwork required. That means you don’t have to allocate funds or manpower towards this.
Less bulk for landfills
Nearly all food waste ends up as animal feed or is recycled. Any food waste that is not recycled or used as animal feed ends up in landfills. However, landfills are bad for the environment.
Most people assume that, since food is biodegradable, it will decompose and become part of the soil. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Composting requires a balance of ‘brown’ (carbon-rich) and ‘green’ (nitrogen-rich) materials. That proportion is not always maintained with food waste. Composting requires airflow as well, which is not possible in packed landfills.
Also, food waste may contain oils and fats, which are not conducive to composting. As a result, food waste decomposition doesn’t benefit the soil.
This is in addition to the fact that landfills are created by clearing land of trees and vegetation. The more waste we add to landfills, the more land we need to accommodate it all.
Recycling food waste, on the other hand, reduces the burden on landfills. More importantly, the by-products of recycling can be used as biofuel and fertiliser.
Reduction of greenhouse gases
As we mentioned earlier, food waste in landfills does not break down into the soil, becoming compost as it does not get enough air. What ends up happening is food goes through anaerobic decomposition.
The process releases methane (CH4), which is a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases, as we know, can contribute to global warming. The worst culprits are water vapour and carbon dioxide (CO2), with methane coming in third.
The benefit of recycling food waste is that it is better for the environment. That is because, whilst we also use anaerobic digestion to break down waste, it is done in a controlled environment.
The methane is captured (so, not allowed to escape into the atmosphere), and used as biofuel. Plus, the production of CO2 is greatly reduced.
And, the remaining solid waste, or digestate, is used as fertiliser on farmlands.
Customers in today’s world are very conscious of business values. They will often align themselves with businesses that share their beliefs.
By recycling your food waste, you can become a ‘green’ business that cares for the environment. This not only improves your reputation but will also help you attract customers that are looking for sustainable businesses to support.
In addition, if your business produces GHGs or affects the environment in any way (Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting (SECR)), you have to report it to the government. By recycling your food waste, you naturally have fewer pollutants to report.
How can we help you with your food waste?
If you are thinking about moving your business model to a more environmentally friendly approach, food waste recycling should definitely be one of the considerations. We will be happy to help design a food waste recycling plan for you.
Here is a list of some of the food waste we can help you with:
- Packaged food waste
- Out-of-date food from shops and supermarkets
- Bakery waste
- Manufacturing, food and drink processing waste
- Industrial food by-products
- Food preparation waste & leftover food from restaurants
- Solid and liquid waste from agriculture
If you’re unsure about whether we’d be able to help you with your food waste, we would be happy to discuss options. Contact us and let us know what you need.