Food for thought: recycling service for food waste

Friday, 11 December, 2020

Food for thought: recycling service for food waste

How can you reduce the cost of general waste, increase landfill diversion and earn green points with customers with a food recycling service?

Food waste recycling is the number one opportunity for businesses to take a bite out of the general waste bin and grow their sustainability credentials.

The cost of food waste to the Australian economy is estimated to be around $20 billion each year with 2.2 million tonnes being disposed of by the commercial and industrial sector alone. It’s a surprisingly large amount of wastage, especially given the potential of this nutrient-rich organic material.

Supermarkets, wholesalers, importers, retailers, schools, aged-care facilities, hospitality, commercial kitchens and food manufacturers stand to benefit the most from a dedicated food waste recycling service.

In a Cleanaway audit of a large retail customer’s waste streams, food waste made up 60% of their general waste bin. General waste bins containing wet and heavy organic material need to be collected more regularly, which increases the cost of service — so the more that’s diverted, the less expensive waste services can be. With landfill levies on the up as governments seek to encourage recycling among waste generators, it makes sense for businesses to divert as much waste as possible from landfill.

For food manufacturers and supermarkets where food waste is hard to avoid and often in bulk, our depackaging service is an exciting solution for recovering expired, damaged or mislabelled food previously destined for landfill. Separating food and liquid from packaging can be extremely labour intensive and inefficient so a service that can accept a range of packaging types and organic volume is a game changer for recovery rates. The extracted material isn’t much to look at but it’s liquid gold for agriculture and Cleanaway works with our partners to ensure nothing goes to waste.

For commercial kitchens, aged care or facilities with food courts and cafeterias an on-site recycling process may be best for kitchen waste. A back-of-house system gives a range of businesses access to efficient food recovery technology at the point of disposal. Cleanaway’s units can take care of bones, oyster shells, pineapple heads and avocado seeds that are difficult to break down, heavy and take up a lot of space in a regular bin.

In Australia, Cleanaway is spearheading food waste recovery with fit-for-purpose processing technologies and end-to-end recycling solutions that turn organic material into compost to nourish crops, liquid nutrients injected directly into soil and even electricity to power homes and businesses.

Selecting the right service is more complex than simply having a food waste bin. An experienced service provider will work with you to develop a solution tailored to your needs by:

  • assessing the unique requirements of your operations to recommend the right recovery technology,
  • supporting the service with staff education and bin signage, reporting, pre and post service audits for compliance and recommendations to improve the service,
  • making recommendations to optimise your supply chains and explore ways to complement recycling with waste minimisation initiatives,
  • understanding your sustainability goals and measuring services to ensure your KPIs are met.

Good for business, better for the environment, benefits the community. Can you really afford to let another morsel of food go to waste? Now that’s a thought to chew on.

Cleanaway is Australia's leading total waste management, industrial and environmental services company. We have supported Australian businesses for over 50 years, delivering solutions that offer extraordinary benefits not only for our customers, but also for our communities. Speak to us for a tailored consultation —

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