UK businesses missing out on £1,000s of savings in food waste recycling

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On average, UK businesses are spending £50,862 every year on sending their food waste to landfill, but recycling food waste could save them £7,000 per year, according to new research.

As the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Environmental Act is fast approaching, which plans to make it a legal requirement in England for companies to recycle food waste, the study conducted by the national food waste recycling company, also revealed that 99%* of businesses in the UK either don’t know about the legislation or if they do, have little or no understanding of it.

On top of this, one third (38%) of UK businesses do not think food waste is a core priority, and over a quarter (27%) said that they do not recycle food waste at all.

However, although businesses said that they are unprepared and uneducated for the legislation, 62% did say that they were working to gain an understanding of it and 58% said that they were concerned about the carbon emissions sending food waste to landfill produces.

Grant Keenan, managing director at Keenan Recycling, who conducted the research, said: “If I were to say to you, I’ll save you nearly £7,000 for your business tomorrow, I’m sure there would be lots of things that, as a business owner, you could do with that money – particularly with the rising cost of living, fuel, and supplies. This figure represents the average amount that businesses could save from opting to recycle instead of sending food waste to landfill.

On top of this, with pending legislative change and pressure for organisations to make public their own net zero plans, food recycling will be key to how commercial operations function sustainably in the future, so the best time to become involved with it is now.”

For businesses in Scotland, where Keenan’s headquarters reside, food waste recycling has been mandatory for those producing over 50kg of waste since 2014. This was then extended to any business producing over 5kg of waste in 2016, making it a legal obligation for any such business to recycle using a registered waste carrier service.

Grant ended: “This is what the English legislation that’s proposed to be introduced in 2023 is likely to enforce, meaning that most businesses should be looking to become more educated about food waste recycling and its many benefits, including financial, towards creating a more circular economy.”

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UK businesses missing out on £1,000s of savings in food waste recycling