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What does Waste in the UK look like?

24 January 2018 No Comment

Businesses must guarantee that they have a viable waste management plan in place to enable smooth operations across the company and acknowledge the duty of care that they have. We look to find out what different businesses in different industries do to get rid of their waste and how much it is costing them as a whole in the UK.

A lot of businesses have an aim to bring down any costs that are going out of the business — and if they’re producing a lot of waste, this can be costly! One way to reduce unnecessary costs is to have your waste effectively managed. This means working with a waste management company that can draw up a profile of your business and calculate the amount of waste your company generates — and creates a more reliable and bespoke collection routine that better meets your business needs.

An insight to industries across Britain

The commercial and industrial sector in Britain generated a total of 30 million tonnes of waste throughout 2014. 19.8 million tonnes from this was from England alone with 11.1 million tonnes coming from the commercial sector and 8.7 from the industrial. When looking at the whole UK, we can see that the commercial sector produced 15.1 million tonnes and the industrial produced 12.6 million tonnes.

Construction and demolition businesses found themselves producing 120.4 million tonnes in 2014, a 10.6% increase on 2012. This sector generated over 60% of the UK’s total waste.

People who work in the agricultural sector produced 9% more in 2014 than 2012. In 2012, we saw 24.7 million tonnes of waste and then in 2016, 26.9 million tonnes.

202.8 million tonnes of waste was produced in 2014, which was a 4.6% increase on 2012 in Britain.

Waste generated from restaurants and pubs in the UK

According to Wrap, food waste costs £3,500 per tonne here in the UK — calculating to £628 million annually. In relation to restaurants in the UK, we can see that 51% of waste is recycled, 65% of it being packaging.

Restaurants in the UK produce around 915,400 tonnes of waste — 199,000 is accounted by food waste.

873,000 tonnes of waste is generated by pubs solely and 173,000 of it is accounted for by food waste! We found out that 63% of this waste is recycled. The average pub can see a cost of £8,000 per year to get rid of food waste from its premises.

Waste generated from hotels in the UK

It has been discovered that food waste costs hotels in the UK £4,000 per tonne — totaling to £318m. This sector produces around 289,700 tonnes of waste each year, of which 79,000 tonnes is food waste.

Waste generated by healthcare facilities in the UK

The source also suggests that only 7% of the waste that comes from healthcare facilities is recycled. Food waste costs the healthcare sector £230 million each year — £1,900 per tonne. Every year, the healthcare sector generates 170,300 tonnes of waste, and a significant 121,000 tonnes of this belongs to food waste.

What you need to do as a business dealing with waste:

Offering a wide range of skip sizes across the UK, we’ve teamed up with Reconomy to bring you the top tips and tricks for calculating the amount of food waste you produce:

To begin calculations regarding the amount of waste that you produce, start by distributing your waste into appropriate sections. Use three different bins to collect this data, waste for food preparation, spoilage and then the leftovers from your customers’ plates. Use the data you have collected and multiply this figure by the amount it costs per tonne and this will tell you how much it is costing your business each year.

Where does food waste come from?

  • Food preparation – 45%.
  • Spoilage – 21%.
  • Customer plates – 34%.

There are many routes that you can go down as a business owner to lower the amount of food waste that you’re producing. One problem that restaurants and cafes often shy away from addressing is the size of their menus; the bigger the menu, the more ingredients you buy — and the more that can be wasted. Take a step in the right direction by looking at your customer patterns — what are they ordering? From this, you will be able to remove the dishes that do not add value to your menu.

Have you ever considered that the portion sizes you’re making are too big? Reducing the size of your meals even slightly is a simple step to take that could help reduce costs for your business.

Make sure that you only buy the ingredients that you need, try not to be persuaded by any deals that give you more for a little bit extra! Don’t get sucked in by your supplier’s special offers — it’s only a good deal if you’ll actually use the produce. If not, it will end up going in the bin — costing your business more money in the long run. Buy long-lasting ingredients that are vital in your kitchen such as spices, and buy fresh food only as you need it.

Try donating any leftovers to homeless shelters in your community, you will be reducing your food waste problem whilst bettering a nationwide issue. You could even donate leftovers to a local farm to feed their animals if appropriate. Both of these could be beneficial to you as a business as you will be reducing waste whilst helping the environment.

What is the Government doing?

With an aim to becoming a zero-waste economy, British businesses should try and use materials to their full capacity. This means we will have to be harder on how much we reduce, reuse and recycle, and only ever throw things away as a last resort.

Under legislation, businesses have a duty of care. They are also obliged to sort their waste out in the appropriate way and then store it correctly for when it leaves your businesses building. When this happens, you must complete a waste transfer note for each load of waste that is removed from your location. Make sure that your chosen waste carrier is registered to dispose waste and if they are not, first and foremost you shouldn’t use them. You then have a duty to report them to Crimestoppers as they will dispose of your waste illegally and this can be damaging to the environment. By following the above advice, the UK can make a step in the right direction to achieve the goal they have to become a zero-waste economy.










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