Under the new Food Waste Legislation coming into force in 2023, those in the hospitality sector, not already doing so, will be required to separate their food wastage from their general waste and have it collected separately.

In November 2021 the UK Environment Act was passed and will become law in 2023 for everyone in the hospitality industry. The question is, what does the new legislation mean, and how will it impact the sector over the coming months?

The aim of the UKs Environment Act has always been to move away from the throwawaysociety we have inherently become and move towards a more sustainable and circular economy. Where waste is reduced and recycled by introducing new extended producer responsibility schemes designed to reduce plastic use, alongside improved labelling information for consumers making it easy to identify what products and packaging are recyclable.

The Act aims to separate food waste collections, a pivotal change for the hospitality industry throughout England. The Government has pledged to reduce food waste by 25% by 2025, and the implementation of the Act further compounds this by committing to eliminate food waste from landfills by 2030, so the hospitality industry is now, by law, required to separate all food waste from general waste and to have it collected separately.

Some commercial kitchens may not feel the effects of this change as they already have food and general waste separated as part of their waste strategy. For others, who currently dispose of waste to a sewer by a digestion, waste-to-water system or traditional macerator, these practices will no longer be compliant with the new legislation, meaning businesses will need to start reviewing and planning for the future as soon as possible.

Businesses who operate in more remote areas already know how difficult it is to get waste collected reliably with the implementation of the legislation there will need to be an extra collection, extra bin and a supplier to collect the waste. These businesses should be looking at the closest food waste processing site and how easy and cost-effective it would be to get the separated waste collected.

Although the industry may see this as a negative and additional work, it’s not something to be too concerned about. There are many positives to this change, not only environmental but also a way to generate business value. Many hotels and restaurants have been doing this for a number of years, so these tried and tested methods can be adopted by businesses having to make the changes.

One example is investing in on-site composting and drying technology which will turn food waste into compost which can be used to fertilise home-grown produce. The drying technology allows difficult to compost items, such as bones and used napkins, to be blended and homogenised, turning the waste into coffee granule-sized particles that can be fed into the in-vessel Rocket composter, which creates a nutrient-rich resource in just 14 days. Creating a truly circular model.

We appreciate that not every business has the ability to undertake this process but even a reduced manner of the above will achieve compliance to the new Legislation Act. Drying and de-liquifying before collection will be permitted under the new Act but disposers and digesters will not. Drying and de-liquifying will reduce the weight and volume of waste which will positively impact the collection costs.

Benefits of composting food waste on-site:

  • Drying, de-liquifying and composting are beneficial for environmental sustainability. This process eliminates transport emissions produced by off-site disposal, as well as improves the health of the soil.
  • Positively affects the business’s bottom line by reducing the charges for waste disposal.
  • Guest expectations – shows guests and diners that the business is invested in being as carbon friendly as possible.
  • Puts businesses back in charge of their own waste management.

Businesses should be looking at these new legislative changes as an era of opportunity for the industry – a time to make a change and a difference to the world we live in by contributing to a more sustainable future.