Resource Use

Hospitality sector saves £10m by reducing food waste

Signatories of the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement (HaFSA) have saved more than £10 million by reducing food waste in just one year, the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has announced.

Launched in June 2012, the HaFSA asked food producers, hotels, fast-food outlets, caterers, industry bodies and government departments to work to reduce food and packaging waste and recycle more of what is left over. It was launched by WRAP after the organisation found that the food service and hospitality sector produced 3.4 million tonnes of waste, of which 43 per cent was disposed of, mainly to landfill. Further to this, WRAP found that 78 per cent of the residual waste produced was made up of easily recyclable food, paper, card and glass.

As such, the voluntary agreement was launched with the joint aim of reducing food and packaging waste by five per cent (of 2012 levels) and increasing the amount of waste sent for recycling, anaerobic digestion or composting to 70 per cent by 2015.

Progress report details

According to the progress report for the first year of the voluntary HaFSA, released today (2 December), there is ‘some progress’ being made against both targets but ‘there is still a lot more work to be done by signatories to ensure that this progress is maintained and built upon’.

Indeed, it reveals that during 2013, the 200 signatories reduced packaging by 2.5 per cent (or 6,100 tonnes of waste).

The overall recycling rate of both food and packaging waste had also grown, but by just seven per cent – to 54 per cent. However, there was an estimated 23 per cent increase in the amount of surplus food being sent for redistribution.

WRAP estimates that the collective cost saving made in this year from reducing food waste alone was £10 million. Despite this, there is still ‘a lot more that can be done’, as WRAP estimates that the collective cost of food waste to signatories is over £240 million per year.

The body has said it will continue to work with signatories to encourage them to recycle their food waste and identify opportunities to reduce waste arisings in the first place.

To highlight best practice, WRAP has also today published case studies and a video in which signatories discuss the impact of the HaFSA and how they have taken individual action.

Reducing waste ‘makes business sense and saves money’

Dr Richard Swannell, Director of Sustainable Food Systems at WRAP, said: “I’m delighted by the enthusiasm with which HaFSA has been embraced by industry, and acted upon. Today we see the first indication of the positive impact the hard work undertaken by signatories and supporters is having towards the collective HaFSA ambitions.

“There’s no doubt that a lot of work still needs to be done to build upon this positive start, but HaFSA is helping to bring the right people together to deliver solutions. As the comments in this video make clear, actions – whether collective or individual – make business sense and save money.”

Read the full progress note on HaFSA’s first year.

Love Food Hate Waste releases ‘Save More’ pack

As well as the launch of the HaFSA progress report, WRAP has also today released a new pack for householders aimed at reducing domestic food waste.

The free-to-download ‘Save More’ pack has been developed by ‘experts in adult and community education, behaviour change, food/health promotion and waste prevention communications and community engagement’ in the aim of improving kitchen skills to reduce food waste arisings.

The pack was developed after a survey carried out in partnership with parenting website Mumsnet found that a quarter of parents were ‘not confident’ they could use leftovers to make another meal without resorting to a recipe.

Other findings revealed that, although more than 90 per cent of parents rate cooking skills as an important part of their child’s general education, over 60 per cent of parents with children over the age of three spend three hours or less a month cooking with their child.

As such, the pack comprises a range of individual and group activities about reducing food waste, including: meal planning advice; tips on ‘shopping savvy’; information about food labels (such as best-before and use-by dates); food storage best practice; and general knowledge quizzes.

Emma Marsh, Head of Love Food Hate Waste, said: “Cooking skills are a key life skill for all of us. But most of us lack the time to build these up, leading to a lack of confidence in the kitchen. Our range of tools and guidance on now enhanced by our new Save More initiative are designed to increase everyone’s skills, knowledge and confidence and enable these to be passed onto the next generation."

WRAP has also released a report today outlining how the ‘Save More’ pack was developed and the results of successful pilots.

Download the ‘Save More’ pack or find out more about Love Food Hate Waste.