Food Waste Management

According to the United Nations, a third of all the food ends up as waste. Let’s take a look at some numbers in context to some of the major contributors of food waste.

41% or 600,000 tonnes of waste from restaurants, hotels, pubs and quick service restaurants are food waste, cites the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP). It also mentions on its site that the food sector produces 0.4 million tonnes of food waste per annum which can be avoided and 0.2 million tonnes of unavoidable food waste every year. With customers who are willing to pay extra for eating at places which are making conscious efforts to reduce the food waste, it seems like a lucrative option for owners to reduce food waste in restaurants and other such establishments.

Airlines also rank high in terms of food waste contributors. Several factors are involved when it comes to this industry. To ensure customer satisfaction, airlines often tend to stock more food than required on board flights. Solutions include using tools to predict the consumption trend on given air routes and adjusting stocks accordingly to reduce food waste. Also, more flights need to get on board with the concept of providing their customers an option to pre-order the food.

Food Waste and Its Impact on Economy

The economy pays a heavy price for the all the food waste that is created at every step of the chain. However, with people in food sector fast learning about the lucrative gains associated with reducing food waste, the scenario looks hopeful for reducing the impact of food waste on the global economy.

For instance, according to a recently published case prepared for action on food waste prevention in the catering industry on the site of WRAP, caterers saved $6 for every $1 invested in reducing food waste, around 80% were able to keep their total investment in reducing food waste under $10,000 and 64% had recovered their investment within only a year.

Food Waste and Its Impact on Environment

Our environment also pays a heavy price for the enormous amount of food waste we produce. Vast quantities of land, water and fertilizer are used in order to produce food which is never eaten and huge amount of fuel is used to process, refrigerate and transport food which is frequently disposed without a thought. The food waste which decays in landfill without oxygen, emits a potent greenhouse gas – methane.

We need more participants like some of the countries which have implemented effective solutions to address this problem. For instance, restaurants have introduced ‘half portion, half price’ trends and a system to charge people by weight for the quantity of garbage disposed by them.

Food Waste Management - An Innovative Solution

According to WRAP, in the UK alone, the construction industry is responsible for consuming 60% of all the raw materials. Food waste is a comparatively cheaper and more environment-friendly option to the traditional building materials. Though the concept has been around since some time now, it still requires a major scaling up to actually produce substantial economic and environmental benefits. Some of the examples are:

  • Bananas – They contain strong fibres and have good acoustic absorption property as well as high durability. The fruit and the leaves are being used to create rugged textiles.
  • Peanuts – The shells of this nut are being used to manufacture economic materials such as partition boards which are moisture resistant and flame retardant.
  • Potato – Potato peels can be processed to produce light-weight, water-repellent, sound-proof and fire-resistant insulating material.

More awareness needs to be created when it comes to handling food waste. Industries in the food sector and the governments need to collaborate and create more accessible and profound solutions for reducing and managing food waste.

To learn more about environmental saving techniques, visit Erich's blog on Northern California Compactors, Inc.

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