Reducing food waste presents an opportunity for immediate climate benefits while improving the overall sustainability of our food systems. As a business, there are many things you can do to reduce food waste and create a more sustainable operation. Here are some tips:
1. Evaluate your current food waste.
The first step to reducing food waste is understanding where and how much food waste your business generates. Keep track of what gets thrown out over the course of a week or month, and compost anything that can be composted. This will give you a baseline to work from as you start implementing changes.
2. Implement a "first in, first out" system.
This system ensures that older products are used before new ones come in, preventing items from expired before they even have a chance to be sold. Consider investing in storage containers with date labels so you can keep track of when products were received.
3. Educate your staff on the importance of reducing food waste.
It's important that everyone in your business is on board with reducing food waste. Train your staff on the changes you're implementing and why they're important. Additionally, make sure they know how to properly store and rotate inventory so nothing goes to waste. Getting involved with local community initiatives can also be a great way to educate your staff on the importance of reducing food waste. Edible York is an NGO that aims to build a healthier York community through edible gardening and horticultural workshops. The organisation runs a program titled "Abundance" that collects surplus fruit that inevitably would end up in a landfill. Volunteers then redistribute the fruit to the York community.
4. Get creative with your leftovers.
If you end up with leftover ingredients or prepared but unsold meals, get creative! See if there are any recipes you can whip up with what you have on hand, or donate excess food to a local shelter or food bank, or donate to nonprofits like The Felix Project. This charity collects fresh food thrown away by wholesalers and businesses, and delivers it to charities and schools, expanding their deliveries during the pandemic to emergency food hubs, homeless shelters, churches and hospitals. Through these steps, they ensure that London’s most vulnerable communities are fed.
5. Measure and adjust as needed.
Once you've implemented some changes, it's important to measure your progress and adjust as needed. Periodically check in on your food waste levels and see if anything else needs to be changed or improved upon. Reducing food waste is an ongoing process, but by making small changes you can make a big impact! For large-scale businesses such as commercial kitchens, UK-based technology company Winnow uses artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce food waste, and their waste tracker is used by chefs in more than 40 countries. Additionally, Winnow Vision is a system of cameras pointed at rubbish bins that collects data on food waste, which has saved almost £40 million in food purchasing costs. To read more about this innovation, please see here.
By following these tips, you can make a significant dent in the amount of food waste your business produces. Reducing food waste not only has environmental benefits, but it can also save you money—it's a win-win! Implementing even just one or two of these suggestions can make a big difference, so get started today! If you’re looking for more solutions, speak to us at Bemari about the future of your waste and packaging circularity!
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