London-wide project set to tackle SME food waste
16 February 2012
A London-wide project which will help SMEs working in the food sector to cut down on food waste has been announced by the Greater London Authority.
Subject to European funding, the ‘business food waste solutions project’ will help small and medium-sized enterprises to reduce costs related to the management of food waste. It will focus on better procurement and management processes for businesses such as: restaurants, food preparation and catering facilities; hotels; and, markets.
An application was made by the Greater London Authority (GLA) on February 3 for £500,000 in funding for the project from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). A decision is expected to be made in May 2012.
And, at a meeting of the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWaRB) yesterday (February 15) GLA’s waste policy and programme manager, Andy Richmond requested a further £130,000 in funding from the Recycle for London campaign. Recycle for London is a recycling awareness drive funded by the LWaRB.
The funding was approved by the board; on the provision its application to the ERDF is successful. The money has been carried over from the 2012/13 budget into the 2014/15 budget.
The business food waste solutions project will be delivered over two and a half years as the GLA believe it will take a significant amount of initial and on-going support to help SMEs “participate meaningfully”.
The GLA aims to directly support up to 360 London SMEs, however it hopes that by the end of the project up to 32,000 SMEs would have benefitted. This will be achieved by building commercial relationships and markets so that the activities and advice can be shared with other SMEs within the industry.
Five full time staff will be recruited to help deliver the project and will undertake tasks including: waste audits of SMEs premises; compiling details of food waste collection services; helping to broker arrangements between businesses; and, making contact with London charities who accept surplus edible food and arranging collection.
Mr Richmond told the board: “The project will deliver advice and support to London’s SMEs to aid the reduction of cost and food waste.”
He added: “We are estimating that the project will deliver in the region of £425,000 in savings every year and divert 1,400 tonnes of food waste away from landfill.”
However concerns were raised by board member Peter Calliafas who stated that the savings would only amount to £1,200 per SME each year. He questioned whether the savings would be enough to encourage businesses to take part, bearing in mind that their annual turnover could be in excess of up to £2 million.
Mr Calliafas said: “Where I have the issue is if we look at the financial savings of £425,000. If this is year on year then it makes sense however across the 360 businesses it works out at £1,200-a-year. Will that money be of interest to a small business? It’s not a game changer from their point of view.”
Also at the meeting Clyde Loakes, chair of the London Reuse Network Partnership Board, gave an update on the London Reuse Network and noted that one of the positive outcomes of its projects was the level of employment.
However in an updated report published yesterday it was revealed that the figure has dropped further with expected reuse tonnage for 2011/12 to reach 1,200 tonnes, 55% behind the original target.
Earlier this week letsrecycle.com reported that as of December 2011 the scheme was already 50% behind its target (see letsrecycle.com story).
In the latest report the additional fall in performance was attributed to “the delay in investments in schemes, and the stalling of the refuse collections as part of our Waltham Forest Bulky Waste contract.”