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Food waste deal unveiled

Nearly 70 hospitality and food companies have signed up to an agreement which officials said could stop some 100 million edible meals ending up in the bin.  

The voluntary agreement, launched by WRAP on behalf of the UK and devolved governments, includes leading hotel and pub chains, contract caterers and fast food restaurants.

Defra waste minister Lord Taylor said: “By taking additional steps to reduce the amount of food waste these businesses and organisations will stop the equivalent of 100 million wasted meals going to the bin and save themselves money – a win-win for everyone.”

Signatories to the agreement so far include:

  • Brakes Group
  • Compass Group
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Greggs
  • Jurys Inns
  • McDonald’s
  • SA Brain & Company
  • The Gleneagles Hotel
  • St Austell Brewery
  • Young & Co’s Brewery

Companies signing up to the agreement have pledged to cut food and packaging waste by 5% with a carbon reduction of 234,000 tonnes, and increase recycling to 70%, saving 336,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

WRAP said the industry could save up to £76m by 2015 even if just 25% of the sector signs up to the deal.

However just 27 of companies signed up are food service companies rather than supporting organisations such as Government departments and other companies in the supply chain.

Richard Swannell, WRAP’s director of design and waste prevention told MRW the food service industry will pose new challenges.

He said: “It’s a complex, diverse sector with a lot of small businesses. So we developed the agreement with a different approach for large and small businesses. We are tailoring the support we offer to fit the sector.”

He said waste prevention is difficult because businesses don’t see the total value of waste when it is in their bins, and a lot of cultural and business changes are required.

He added: “The key thing about the voluntary agreement is to get the issue onto the agenda of the industry; you make the case that this is costing businesses significant amounts of money.

“Then through the process of sharing best practice, developing tools, and technical working groups to tackle key issues, we help the sector take action.”

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