Hospitality waste report outlines opportunity to save millions
The UK hospitality sector could save up to £724 million a year by tackling food waste, according to a report published today by WRAP.
The Composition of Waste Disposed of by the UK Hospitality Industry estimates that over 3.4 million tonnes of waste (typically food, glass, paper and card) is produced by hotels, pubs, restaurants and quick service restaurants (QSRs) each year. Of this, 1.6 million tonnes (48 per cent) is recycled, reused or composted, while almost 1.5 million tonnes (43 per cent) is thrown away, mainly to landfill.
Of the waste going to landfill, 600,000 tonnes was food waste, two-thirds of which (400,000 tonnes) could have been eaten.
Efforts by the industry have increased recycling rates, but the amount of waste going to landfill remains an issue, as 70 per cent of the mixed waste currently sent for disposal could be recycled using existing markets.
It is also estimated that as much as 950,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions could be saved if the recyclable waste disposed of by the hospitality industry was actually recycled. That is the equivalent of removing 300,000 cars from UK roads for a whole year. Naturally, the amount of CO2 equivalent emissions that could be saved would increase further if the avoidable food waste could be prevented.
Richard Swannell, Director Design & Waste Prevention, at WRAP, believes the findings suggest there is a real opportunity to reduce waste and costs further across the hospitality sector:
“It is clear from our findings that much work has been done by the hospitality sector to reduce waste to landfill in favour of increased recycling, and more could be done. Businesses are keen to recycle, or recycle more, but often come across barriers, such as a lack of space.
“Working together, there is a real opportunity to reduce waste and recycle more, delivering reductions in CO2 emissions, as well as generating cost savings.”
Breakdown of key mixed waste materials in mixed waste sent for disposal that could be recycled:
Material Tonnes and percentage share
Food 600,000 tonnes (40%)
Glass 213,000 tonnes (14%)
Paper 196,000 tonnes (13%)
Card 134,000 tonnes (9%)