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400,000 tonnes of food waste worth £724m wasted by hospitality sector

Up to £724m could be saved by the UK hospitality sector each year if they tackled food waste, according to today’s report by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

‘The Composition of Waste Disposed of by the UK Hospitality Industry’ found that of the 600,000 tonnes of food waste the sector sent to landfill, 400,000 tonnes – or two thirds – could have been eaten.

Overall the report found that hotels, pubs, restaurants and quick service restaurants (QSRs) produce over 3.4m tonnes of waste each year. The waste mainly comprises food, glass, paper and card and around 1.6m tonnes of this – or 48% -is recycled, reused or composted. However, almost 1.5m tonnes - or 43%- is thrown away.

While recycling rates have improved in the industry, 70% of the mixed waste the industry sends to landfill could be recycled using existing markets.  Of the mixed waste sent for recycling 213,000 tonnes of glass could be recycled, 196,000 tonnes of paper and 134,000 tonnes of card.

If the sector’s recyclable waste was actually recycled it would save 950,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions – the same as removing 300,000 cars from UK roads for a year.  If the avoidable food waste was tackled this would save additional CO2.

WRAP director design and waste prevention, Richard Swannell, said:  “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 CO2emissions, as well as generating cost savings.”

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