Findings from the Hospitality Carbon Reduction Forum show that over half the food waste from the forum's 12,000 restaurants and pubs is currently going to landfill due to a lack of available anaerobic digestive capacity in England and Wales and inconsistent nationwide waste contractor coverage.
Carbon Statement, a Carbon Management company, has just been commissioned by forum members to increase the energy production from food waste to meet the food waste recycling targets agreed with WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme). Carbon Statement will also evaluate and recommend the best ways to turn members' food waste into energy.
As 200,000 Tonnes of food waste is generated annually, Carbon Statement calculates that this could generate massive efficiencies such as enough electricity to power 20,000 homes for one year.
Peter Charlesworth is also in talks with the industry on behalf of Nando's, Hammerson and Mitchells & Butlers and other hospitality forum members to evaluate the most cost effective range of commercial options. These include backhauling food waste direct to an existing AD plant; independent waste contractor food waste collection direct to AD plant; using one waste contractor with a network of AD facilities; building a dedicated new AD plant for Hospitality Forum members and food waste incineration with independent collection.
Charlotte Henderson, WRAP Programme Area Manger said: "WRAP is delighted to support this collaborative and innovative approach to increasing the recycling rate of food waste and reducing the amount that ends up in landfill."
Peter Charlesworth of Carbon Statement says: "The industry has a great opportunity to collaborate to improve efficiencies of collection and benefit from volume deals with the food waste to energy companies. These benefits include removing landfill charges, reducing backhauling and transportation costs and associated carbon emissions while earning money from generating energy."
Charlesworth continued: "We have mapped all members' sites across the UK against existing and planned AD capacity to optimise the waste collection process and to consider the siting of new AD plants. Today there is little co-ordination between the supply of food waste, collection and the positioning of sites. Since Scottish legislation bans food waste to landfill from 2014, we need to act now, together as an industry, to tackle this problem.
Chris George, Head of Energy & Environment for the Whitbread Group says: "We already recycle restaurant food waste to support our zero waste to landfill targets, so the introduction of back hauling initiatives and opportunities are interesting to explore alongside the benefits and best practice of industry collaboration."
Richard Felgate, Head of Energy and Environment at Mitchells & Butlers added: "Whilst we already recycle our food waste we are keen to explore how we could make this process more efficient and cost effective through collaborating with other companies in our sector."
Paul Edwards – Head of Sustainability, Hammerson concluded: "this project is a fantastic example of the industry working together to find the best solution to a common problem, what to do with food waste. The potential created by working with our tenants is enormous! "