Recycling food is top of UK businesses’ green agenda

food waste bagged

Nearly half of all businesses (46%) across the UK have ‘recycling food waste’ at the top of their priorities to reduce their organisation’s carbon footprint, according to new research.

A study of 200 UK businesses conducted by Keenan Recycling, suggests that companies are more concerned about recycling food waste, than they are plastic and cardboard (19%), switching to electric vehicles (16%) or decreasing use paper and print materials (10%).

In addition, the topic of surplus food got a further mention, with ‘reducing food waste’ coming in as the third biggest priority for businesses, and 33% of respondents wanting to advance on this metric.

The research comes as updates to the government’s Environmental Bill are set to come into force in 2023. The new legislation will introduce mandatory separate food and general waste collections across the UK, with the aim of eliminating food waste from landfill by 2030.

Grant Keenan, Managing Director at Keenan Recycling, said: “Every year Recycling Week takes places to try and encourage businesses and consumers alike to improve their recycling behaviours, and this year is no different. We find it therefore really encouraging that the results of our own recent research shows, that UK businesses’ main focus when it comes to reducing its carbon footprint is to recycle food waste.

“Since 2016, any business that operates in Scotland and produces more than 5kg of food waste has a legal obligation to recycle by a registered waste carrier service, this is still not the case here in England, but it’s heartening to see that businesses now see it as their top focus irrespective of legislation.

“It would be great to see the same achievements in England as we have seen in Scotland. We hope the fast-approaching Environmental Act deadlines will help propel both business and household efforts to recycle food waste and move towards a more circular economy.”

The 10 main business priorities to reduce carbon footprint:

  1. Recycling food waste (46%)
  2. Reducing use of plastic (35%)
  3. Reducing our food waste (33%)
  4. Recycling plastic and cardboard (19%)
  5. Using sustainable supplier (17%)
  6. Using electric vehicles (16%)
  7. Minimising water usage (14%)
  8. Sourcing local produce (14%)
  9. Planting trees to offset carbon (12%)
  10. Decreasing use of paper and print materials (10%)

The research carried out by one of the country’s leading food recyclers also revealed that nearly half (48%) of companies were set to spend as much money on food waste recycling as it did recycling other waste materials (i.e. plastic, glass, cardboard.)

“As businesses become far more aware of their own sustainability processes and procedures, we are seeing an upturn in those interested in understanding more about food waste, how it can recycle it and how to reduce its volume,” continued Grant

“We know first-hand the benefit an enforced recycling legislation can have with an increase of 15,000-tonne in food waste treated at anaerobic digestion plants across Scotland in the first few months alone – if only this was already in play in England!

“However, in its absence, to see that businesses are beginning to see not only the environmental but the possible financial benefit of recycling and placing it in prime priority position when thinking about sustainability is excellent news.”