Hospitality sector hails emissions cuts
Hospitality organisations that have signed up to the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement (HaFSA) achieved a reduction in CO2-equivalent (CO2e) emissions of 3.6 per cent in 2014, relative to the 2012 baseline, according to the initiative’s second annual progress report.
The agreement, run by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), includes two waste targets for signatories to cumulatively aim for by the end of 2015. The waste prevention target looks to reduce the amount of food and associated packaging waste arising by five per cent from a 2012 baseline by the end of 2015. This is measured in the amount of CO2e emissions saved.
In 2014, CO2e emissions reported by signatories were an estimated 30,000 tonnes less than the 2012 baseline, with 15,000 tonnes less waste being generated. WRAP estimated that the cost savings of food waste reduction alone would be around £3.6 million, while the surplus food redistributed has continued to rise, increasing by 47 per cent from a very low base to 528 tonnes.
As well as prevention, the agreement sets waste management targets, which aim to increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion (AD) or composted by at least 70 per cent by the end of 2015.
The agreement includes food waste generated by hospitality and food service businesses, as well as packaging associated with the delivery of food and drink into the sector, including primary, secondary and tertiary packaging.
The industry saw a continued rise in the recycling of food and packaging waste in 2014, with the combined recycling rate rising from 45 per cent to 57 per cent. This means a 13 percentage point increase is needed in 2015 if targets are to be hit.
Final results from the programme will be published in 2016. The work undertaken through the HaFSA will then be reflected in WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment 2025, which will see a number of voluntary resource management measures for the grocery sector and is due to launch in March 2016.
Hospitality and Food Service Agreement
The HaFSA was launched in 2012 after a WRAP report found that the industry produced 3.4 million tonnes of waste a year in the UK, with 43 per cent going unrecycled and predominantly ending up in landfill. The report also found that 78 per cent of the residual waste was made up of easily recyclable food, paper, card and glass.
WRAP estimated at the time of launch that if 25 per cent of the UK’s food service industry signed up to the agreement, they would save £76 million in disposal and supply costs by 2015.
Seventy food producers, hotels, fast-food outlets, caterers, industry bodies and government departments from across the UK signed up for the agreement at its launch, and to date nearly 230 industry organisations have signed or pledged support for the initiative. This, according to WRAP, covers its target 25 per cent of the sector.
Through the HaFSA programme, resources have been produced to enable online training in waste prevention, including sector-specific courses for the healthcare sector (developed with the Hospital Caterers Association) and environmental health practitioners (developed with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health).
WRAP has also provided other online training materials for making the most out of food stocks and improved menu planning, as well as guidance on food waste prevention legislation.
Case studies for signatories piloting specific approaches have also been produced. These include facilities management company Sodexo’s trial of food waste monitoring equipment, food supplier Brakes’ project to analyse waste arisings from ambient, chilled and frozen depots, and initiatives surrounding front of house packaging.
Solid foundation for Courtauld 2025
Commenting on the updated results, Dr Richard Swannell, Director of Sustainable Food Systems at WRAP, said: “These achievements are the result of a lot of hard work by many people, and a huge undertaking by the sector over two years. The targets require real effort, so it’s great to see signatories performing well against both. Given this performance, I’m sure the final results will set a solid foundation for the Courtauld Commitment 2025.”
Resources Minister Rory Stewart added: “From big business through to the weekly shop – we all have a role to play in reducing food waste. It’s great to see progress being made by the hospitality sector – I want to encourage the whole food and drink industry to get behind our renewed push to reduce all waste – the Courtauld Commitment 2025.
“This is not only crucial for our natural environment, but our economy, too – no food should go to waste.”
Commenting on the agreement, Mark Linehan, Managing Director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, said: "Over recent years, the issue of the amount of perfectly good food we throw away in the UK has become more prominent. Wasting food that is intended for human consumption is a social, environmental and economic scandal that businesses and society are beginning to recognise and address. WRAP, and its Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, has been at the forefront of growing awareness of the problem and providing tools, advice and support to those organisations who want to do something about it."
More information on the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement can be found on WRAP’s website.