The food and drink industry is a mammoth one. The agri-food sector alone contributes just over £113 billion to the UK economy, which includes manufacturing processes and retailing. There are so many food-related businesses that we interact with on a daily basis; we all admit we love popping down the local pub for a pint, a cafe for a coffee and catch up or a restaurant for a fancy evening out. But, it’s no surprise that these industries produce so much waste in their everyday operation.
Whether you’re starting a business within the food or drink industry or are looking for ways to improve and optimise your business’ approach to recycling, you might be wondering which waste containers are useful to your company. If you’re thinking you’d like them to be used by staff, customers, clients and you alike, you’ll need to start thinking about which ones are necessary to your restaurant, cafe, pub or deli and how to effectively optimise their use.
Of course, every business has rubbish that needs to be disposed of. It may not be a top priority for you, as a business owner, but it pays to think about it. Remember, in this day and age, everyone should be responsible for recycling and disposing of waste properly and responsibly. Admittedly, not everyone does, but it’s your job, as a business, to make it as accessible and easy as possible to encourage everyone to do so.
As experts in waste solutions and advocates of ‘zero to landfill’, we use this blog to discuss the waste containers needed in the food and drink industry, how to encourage the use of recycling containers over general waste and steps you can take to encourage recycling and eliminate excess waste.
Even if some of these might not directly apply to your food and drink business, consider the other areas that are behind the scenes, such as any admin offices or staff rooms, or if your business has electrical appliances in constant use. As long as you have the correct bins in place, a business can recycle:
● Paper (including coloured, confidential and shredded paper and newspapers/magazines)
● Tins and cans
● Plastic bottles
● Food waste
● Printer cartridges
● Electrical equipment
First, we’ll explore which containers are essential for your food and drink business whilst taking into consideration any relevant legal requirements. Whilst there isn’t any set rules of what size and where to place waste containers, there are set rules when it comes to dealing with commercial waste and how it’s stored.
Generally, businesses don’t have bin restrictions as long as they comply with these regulations, according to the Environment Protection Act of 1990:
● Ensure that any waste collection providers are licensed
● The waste is stored safely and securely
● The waste is prevented from causing any damage to the environment or people (e.g. slips and trips, cross-contamination etc)
● Ensure that all bins are clearly labelled and visible
● Ensure they have a waste transfer note if you plan to pass the waste on to another company
Also, businesses are responsible for keeping waste to a minimum by following these steps:
Whether your a pub, cafe, restaurant, deli or another food-related business, there are essential waste containers and bins you’ll need for your business.
Of course, many commercial establishments are required to have bins around for customers to use. Usually, the more the merrier too as many of your customers will be quick to remember a messy business, and this could badly reflect on your company. However, with restaurants or pubs that operate a table service, have waiting staff available to clear tables or unpackage food to be prepared in the kitchen, what happens then?
Try to aim to have a few general waste bins scattered around your business property for staff and customers alike, and particularly in outdoor areas. However, if you’re looking to be more environmentally friendly, aim to invest in a few bins that are labelled to dispose of many different bits of waste e.g. one for paper/cardboard, one for plastic etc. Also, general waste can’t be recycled, so try and aim for your general waste bins to be smaller than the recycling bins. Plus, this may discourage you needlessly throwing away items that could be reused or recycled.
When preparing and selling food to the public from a restaurant, cafe, pub etc, purchase food bin caddies for the area. Have a larger one available for both kitchen and waiting staff to use, but consider small food bin caddies dotted around the kitchen or beside every cooking station. Or, to make things easier, allow chefs to have a container or tub beside the station to collect anything as they peel and slice their way to a delicious meal. Make sure all food bins are lined with biodegradable food waste bags as well.
However, where possible, try to reduce the amount of food waste you’re throwing away. The UK food and drink sector throws away seven million tonnes of food each year, with the food manufacturing sector throwing one million alone. This wasted food affects profit growth more than anything in the food and drink industry. To find out more about how to eliminate food waste, read on.
Every restaurant, cafe, pub or deli is bound to sell glass bottles or provide condiments. When empty and used, try reusing them/refilling them. But, if you need to throw them away, definitely have tall bottle bins for all to use and fulfil glass recycling targets.
When it comes to paper recycling and waste, have clearly labelled bins grouped with the others. In any offices, admin areas or staff rooms, keep paper and cardboard bins too. In the food and drink industry, hosts and waiting staff are phasing out the use of paper to take orders and make restaurant bookings. If you’re a restaurant, cafe or pub that still uses paper to complete these tasks, consider switching to digital or electrical machines such as iPads to do this. Or, alternatively, reuse paper or unwanted documents that would be otherwise be recycled instead.
Although waste containers are a necessity within the food and drink industry, we do need others to use the all general and recycling bins correctly. As an industry, we should also be working towards reducing the amount of all waste. Fortunately, there are many things you can implement to maximise bin usage and make it easier to recycle and eliminate general and food waste within your business:
● The importance of separating materials – it is incredibly important that all waste materials get separated so they can be properly recycled and disposed of correctly. If everything gets thrown in together, then the waste will simply end up in the landfill. Make sure you have separate bins available for paper/cardboard, plastic, glass etc. Also, ensure that each one has clear signage to encourage correct usage. When it comes to bins, try a psychological technique of having smaller bins so people start to feel guilty for putting something that can be recycled into a general waste bin. Finally, think about setting up a staff incentive scheme for recycling and hitting recycling targets.
● Eliminating plastic straws – 2018 saw the slow-elimination of plastic straws and we’re seeing more and more companies following this trend. By switching to cardboard straws or eliminating straws altogether, this reduces plastic intake and waste.
● Eliminating excess food waste – as previously mentioned, the UK generates over seven million tonnes of food waste. As a food and drink company, try to work towards reducing this figure. For example, analyse how much an average plate wastes and work to control portion sizes or, alternatively, offer doggy bags so that customers can take their leftovers home with them. Failing that, try to send any leftover food to soup kitchens to help feed the homeless. Finally, revamp your menu so that you include dishes that use every part of the ingredients you’re cooking with e.g. keeping the skin on potatoes.
● Convert to glass over plastic – more than just changing straws, try to switch as much as possible from plastic to glass materials. From sealed containers to milk bottles, glass is a lot less harmful to the environment in what’s it’s made from and how it’s made and is a lot easier to recycle. It is also recycled properly; plastic is downcycled and isn’t truly recyclable, whereas glass is recycled into more glass over and over again. You’re also more likely to reuse your glass containers, bottles and jars yourself, and in creative ways.
If your food or beverage-based business is in need of waste containers and bins for your property, look no further than Devon Contract Waste today. From bins and sacks to hazardous waste drums and skips, we’ve got all the waste management solutions you need. Along with bins and skips, our ‘Zero to Landfill’ policy means we aim to reuse and recycle all waste and aim to encourage others to do the same. Contact one of our branches at Taunton, Plymouth and Truro today for more information.