Reduce waste objective

Reduce the waste your business produces

How to reduce food waste, what to do with leftover food, how to reduce packaging waste and single use plastic.

Food waste from the hospitality and food service sector

The hospitality and food service sector generates 3 million tonnes of food waste a year.

Of this:

  • 920,000 tonnes is food waste, 75% of which could have been eaten
  • 1.3 million tonnes is packaging for food and drink
  • 0.66 million tonnes is other non food waste such as kitchen paper

The annual cost of food waste is over £2.5 billion, including:

  • the labour costs to prepare, cook and serve food that gets wasted
  • the cost of ingredients, energy, waste, transport, administration and waste management

Where food waste might happen

Waste may happen at various stages, such as:

  • preparation waste
  • stock wastage
  • customer leftovers

Customer leftovers can be a major source of unnecessary food waste in a business. You should monitor what’s being left behind and adjust portion sizes or components. Having smaller portion sizes is also better for your customers’ health.

Reduce food waste in your business

Think about:

  • where food waste happens in your business and how you can reduce it
  • what you can do with any leftover food that’s still safe to eat
  • what you can do with any leftover food that isn’t safe to eat

Make sure your stock management system includes:

  • date labelling
  • stock rotation systems
  • temperature monitoring of storage

Most of these things are also food safety legal requirements.

Having this system in place means less stock wastage and less wasted money for you. It’s important all staff are trained in it.

Case studies of Bristol businesses reducing waste

For information on reducing waste and case studies see our Going for Gold guide to reducing food waste (pdf, 4.6MB) (opens new window) .

Food that’s still safe to eat

Some other ideas to reduce food waste include:

  • reducing the price of items as they get to the end of their shelf life or at the end of the day
  • having a ‘specials’ menu item to use up leftover ingredients or ones that are nearing the end of their shelf life
  • donating leftover food to various groups that can distribute it to people in the community, like FareShareSouthWest, Neighbourly, and OLIO

There are lots of campaigns supporting food businesses to reduce their food waste.

These include:

  • WRAP, who help businesses and communities to find practical solutions to use resources more efficiently
  • Love Food Hate Waste, a campaign to raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste
  • Too Good to Go, an app that helps businesses reduce waste, while also getting potential new customers to try out their food

Food waste that’s no longer safe to eat

Different things you could do with waste that’s no longer safe to eat include:

  • recycle or compost it
  • redistribute fruit and vegetables that are damaged or slightly past their best, to feed animals
  • recycle waste oil if you use it in your business

Packaging waste

Following DEFRA’s waste hierarchy, you can reduce packaging waste by:

  • reusing packaging as much as possible
  • recycling as much as possible
  • reducing the amount of waste produced

Single use plastic

Plastic is made from non-renewable petroleum. It doesn't biodegrade and stays in the environment for decades, often with devastating consequences for wildlife.

Think about:

  • how you can reduce waste in your business
  • what packaging you’re using for takeaway food and if there are alternatives
  • compostable takeaway packaging and utensils from companies such as Enviroware or Vegware
  • telling your customers about any new, sustainable packaging you chose and listening to their feedback: they might be happy to pay a little bit more for environmentally friendly packaging
  • buying ingredients in returnable crates instead of in plastic packaging
  • encouraging your customers to bring their own takeaway containers and cups and offering a price reduction when they do

Refill Bristol

Refill Bristol is about reducing single use plastic by encouraging customers to use refillable water bottles instead of plastic bottles.

Join over 200 businesses across Bristol and become a Refill station. Let members of the public fill up for free from your tap.

As well as being a great thing to do for the environment and people's health, this is also a good way to get potential new customers through your doors.

You can display the Refill Bristol logo in your window. Your business will feature on the Refill interactive map of stations.

Visit the Refill Bristol site for more information.

You can also try the Refill App.