The Business Case for Reducing Food Waste

We often come across people who say “I don’t have any food waste”. We don’t argue, but secretly think: “what about the onion skins, off-colour potatoes, badly cooked pasta or even that brown banana (if they don’t bake)”. We do, however, like their indignation around the idea of wasting food!

Everyone has food waste. If you prepare your own meals, it’s impossible not to have some waste. Food needs to be chopped, peeled, sliced and diced; and with that comes peelings, toppings and skins.

For businesses the challenge of reducing food waste is environmental and financial. The environmental aspect of sending food waste to a dump are well recorded: methane emissions, water pollution, flies, rats, toxins.

But the financial aspect is less focussed upon. Food waste costs a lot of money. It’s expensive to store, move, transport, clean and, especially, dump.

While Earth Probiotic provides food waste composting solutions we are happiest when our clients are actually reducing waste and not simply piling more and more into our composting machines.

Recycling, or composting, is the step before landfill and not and end in itself.

Reducing food waste is priority No.1.

Titled “The Business Case of Reducing Food Loss and Waste” Champions 12.3 outline the ROI from food waste reduction strategies. The main highlight from the report which is available here is:

Food waste reduction makes business sense for everyone - median saving was 14:1 - so for every 1c invested in a food waste and wastage strategy, 14c was returned (just change “c” to $ or your currency).

Where do these savings come from? For producers its really around the simple idea that the less you waste the more you can make to sell. For retailers, the less you waste the more you can sell (or the less you need to buy). For caterers and restaurants this is combination of wasting less to make more but also repurposing food in different meals (which again, is wasting less and feeding more). For households, where savings are the most significant, its really about a clear financial saving - spending less because you have more (or have wasted less).

Essentially less is more.

For councils or governments the savings from reducing food waste and wastage really accrue around the reduction in landfilling (and landfill space) costs.

But we should also not be ignorant in not adding the environmental benefits of reducing food waste and wastage:

  • Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reduction in water usage in agriculture - for example, farmers wastage at the farm is really about wasted water resources as well as financial losses (cost of inputs and farmer income).

As well as the organisation benefits of no rotting waste in the waste area, no compactor leachate eating your concrete slab, and, as always, getting rid of flies, rats and roaches.


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