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Posted by Madeline on 08/10/13

Tackling Food Waste


If food waste were a country, it’d be the third largest emitter of Co2 after China and the U.S.

That was just one of the startling facts shared at ‘Taking Action on Waste’ last week, a roundtable event, organised by HaFSA (the Hospitality and Food Services Agreement), a Wrap initiative.

Financial cost

Food waste - Cost of food waste

Source: Zero Waste Scotland, ‘Waste Minimisation & Resource Efficiency’

Charlotte Henderson from Wrap also presented some surprising statistics on the cost of food waste:

On average each pub in the UK spends around £8,000 a year on food waste.

Widen that to the UK’s entire food and hospitality sector and you’re looking at £1 billion a year.

Disposal costs make up just 3.4% of total food waste costs – food waste costs, like an iceberg, are mostly hidden from view. The labour involved in making meals, for example, is a wasted cost if meals go half-eaten.


As part of the ‘Taking Action on Waste’ event we also looked at where food waste occurs. Wrap’s latest research suggests that in pubs and restaurants, as an industry average, 45% is during food preparation, 34% is from leftovers on customers plates and 21% is from spoilage.

One way you can try tackling food waste is to separate into the three waste streams for a few days (‘spoilage’, ‘plate’ and ‘prep’ waste ). Weigh the contents and you’ll quickly build a picture of where your food waste is coming from!

Doggy Box - Food WasteAs a restaurant you can also try to reduce plate waste by ordering our ‘doggy boxes’ – a take on the ‘doggy bag’. We developed the boxes as part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s ‘Too Good To Waste’ campaign, which aims to raise awareness of, and reduce, restaurant food waste.



Signing up to HaFSA

HaFSA aims to:

  1. Reduce food and associated packaging waste by 5% by the end of 2015.
  2. Increase the amount being recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion (AD) or composted to at least 70% by the end of 2015.

We signed up in 2012 and hope to help HaFSA reach its second target in particular through our ‘closed loop’ zero waste service and recyclable and compostable packaging.

HaFSA is a voluntary agreement and so far 20% of the UK’s hospitality sector is signed up. To find out more, check out the information packs below – simply pick the one that’s relevant for your business:

Small businesses (<250 employees) | Large businessesContract catering clients | Suppliers

You can also register free for HaFSA’s online resource centre. It contains lots of ideas and handy downloads for reducing your waste, such as this checklist.


We hope that’s given you some ‘food for thought’! Please get in touch if you have any questions.

A big thanks to HaFSA and Wrap for organising last week’s roundtable ‘Taking Action on Waste’!


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