The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations revealed that one-third of all the food produced across the globe are wasted. This figure is equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes of wasted food every year.
In the UK, ten million tonnes of food are wasted every year, 30% of which come from pubs, restaurants, hotels and other parts of the food sector. Without any intervention, the UK’s food waste is at risk of increasing by 1.1 million tonnes come 2025.
Food Waste and the Environment
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a registered charity dedicated to reducing environmental impact across the globe through proper resource management, found that food waste has not only economic and social impacts but also negative effects on the environment.
Apart from food waste clogging landfills, WRAP reveals food waste is responsible for over 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. Three-quarters of those emissions come from the UK alone.
Most of the greenhouse gases produced by food waste come in the form of methane, which is more than a hundred times more potent at trapping energy than carbon dioxide. This makes methane a more powerful agent of climate change than carbon dioxide.
The UK and the Food Waste Hierarchy
The UK follows a legal framework established by the European Union law that aims to alleviate food waste. This directive, called the ‘food waste hierarchy’, has been incorporated into the UK law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2011, and in Scotland in 2012.
The food waste hierarchy is a framework that explains actionable steps to deal with food waste in the UK. The hierarchy is divided into four levels: prevention, recycling, recovery and disposal. Prevention of food waste, the most ideal of the four levels, includes redistribution of food supply to people and to animals instead of letting food go to waste. Recycling involves sending waste for anaerobic digestion or for composting. At the bottom of the hierarchy are energy recovery, usually through incineration, and disposal at the landfill.
Unfortunately, despite the existence of this policy, WRAP found that there has been no enforcement of implementing the first level of the waste hierarchy.
Waste Management in the Food Sector
Given the UK’s current situation with food waste, the food sector has felt the pressure of reducing waste and emissions of greenhouse gases.
In 2012, the UK saw the significant effects of preventing food waste in the environment and the economy. Over 230 companies in the country pledged to commit to a three-year voluntary initiative of reducing waste and increasing recycling rates in the food sector. The end of the initiative found fruitful results with a significant decrease in waste and carbon dioxide emissions. Around 24,000 tonnes of food were saved, and the redistribution of oversupply doubled during the entire duration of the project.
Waste Management Solutions in the UK
Given the current condition of food wastage, businesses are expected to practise and strengthen social responsibility and sustainability. For all your commercial waste recycling and waste management concerns, LKM Recycling provides cost-efficient services in the UK.
Be it food waste or recyclable waste, LKM Recycling studies your waste profile and gives you solutions that fit your specific needs.
Get in touch with us today.