Championing Food Waste Action Week throughout the hospitality sector

a picture of food waste being scraped off a plate into a bin

Did you know that an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally each year — with the hospitality industry being one of the largest producers of food waste? It goes without saying that this has significant environmental and economic impacts — including the loss of valuable resources, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and the cost of disposal.

But what does ‘food waste’ actually mean?

While the term typically refers to produce that is fit for consumption, but consciously discarded at the retail or consumption phase, all too often, items such as vegetable peelings, fruit skins, fat trimmings, and more are factored into the same statistics.This begs the question as to whether a separate category needs to be introduced, to give a more accurate picture?

As without a more granular division, hotels can never be truly sure how much food that’s fit-for-purpose is being discarded.

Amongst other strategies, implementing an on-site food waste composting programme plays a key role in bolstering this initiative, and can deliver significant benefits across the board — from reduced costs and improved sustainability credentials, to demonstrated commitment to environmental stewardship, and more.

Here, we delve a little deeper, and explore exactly why hotels should augment their food waste management strategies with on-site composting — both in relation to scraps and genuine waste — throughout Food Waste Action Week, and well beyond…

1. Carbon reduction

According to the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, hotels need to reduce their absolute carbon emissions by 66% by 2030 and 90% by 2050, to ensure that the predicted growth of the industry does not lead to a corresponding increase in carbon emissions. 

By composting food waste and other organic matter on-site, organisations can divert this from landfills, where it would otherwise produce potent greenhouse gas. Instead, the compost produced can be used as a valuable resource to fertilise gardens, lawns, and other green spaces on the hotel’s property. As well as reducing the carbon emissions associated with the production and transportation of synthetic fertilisers, it mitigates the need to transport waste to off-site composting facilities or landfills. 

2. ESG and brand reputation 

When it comes to sustainability pledges, catering towards the growing expectations set by clients and stakeholders can feel like a challenging feat. Not only must strategies to improve a site’s impact on people, the planet, and profit be carefully considered, they must be actively demonstrated, measured, and evidenced too.

On-site composting can play a key role in helping hotels to meet these objectives — highlighting a commitment to reducing food waste, improving resource efficiency, and promoting environmental sustainability throughout the business. For eco-conscious guests, corporate clients, and investors who are increasingly expecting hotels to take more responsibility for their environmental impact, this is more important than ever right now.

3. Cost savings 

With the help of Tidy Planet’s A1200 Rocket Composter and Gobi 400 Food Waste Dryer, our client, Le Manoir, has completely changed its recycling and food waste culture. 

As well as processing circa 100 tonnes of organic waste per year – generating 40-50 tonnes of compost for use in its grounds — the restaurant also saved £9,000 in off-site disposal fees during the first year of the equipment’s installation, and significantly curbed its carbon impact as a result.

But Le Manoir isn’t the only hospitality business to generate significant savings by composting its food waste on-site. Two years on from its installation, Tidy Planet’s A900 Rocket Composter has helped The Torridon save in off-site waste disposal fees — reducing its bin collections from two to one — as well as eliminating the need to outsource compost. 

4. Legislative compliance 

At Tidy Planet, we’ve been hammering home the updates to the UK Environment Act since it was passed and became law in 2021. Yet still, narrative is severely lacking throughout the hospitality sector — not only in relation to these changes, but what they mean for hotels’ food waste management practices, and the rewards that can be reaped as a result.

This year, the following regulations are coming into effect for all organisations across England – including hotels, food manufacturers, cafés, hospitals, care homes, schools, fast food outlets, or simply any business that has a staff canteen:

+ They will no longer be permitted to put their food waste into general waste and send it to landfill or incineration.

+ They will also not be allowed to macerate or digest it or turn it to grey water and send it to a foul sewer.

+ They will need to separate it for collection and send it for recycling, by composting or by anaerobic digestion.

Imposing a legal duty of care on businesses to ensure that their waste, including food waste, is managed in an environmentally responsible manner, other legislative framework includes the Waste Hierarchy that prioritises the reduction, reuse, and recycling of post-consumer plate scrapings over disposal. Hotels must also report on their waste management practices and progress towards waste reduction targets — with failure to comply risking penalties, fines, and even legal action. 

At Tidy Planet, we have over 20 years’ years experience working with the global hospitality sector — helping luxury hotel chains, restaurants, and remote island resorts to boost their environmental credentials and reduce their food waste volumes. Why not get in touch, to discuss your requirements?