As businesses look to save money during the difficult economic times ahead, many recycling companies are looking to ramp up awareness of the cost benefits from recycling.
Keenan pointed out that its research highlighted that the average business said sending food waste to landfill costs them nearly £51,000, whereas recycling it costs just under £44,000.
Grant Keenan, managing director of Keenan Recycling, explained that the figure represents “the average amount a business could save from opting to recycle than send their food waste to landfill”.
Mr Keenan outlined that some people don’t have time to understand the financial and environmental benefits of food waste recycling, with the research results confirming this.
Under Defra’s plans set out in the Environment Act, recycling of food waste for companies in England is set to become a legal requirement. According to Keenan Recycling’s survey, 99% of the respondents either don’t know about or have very little or no understanding of the upcoming legislation.
However, although businesses said that they are unprepared and uneducated for the legislation, 62% of the respondents added that they were working to gain an understanding of it. Moreover, 58% of the respondents admitted that they were concerned about the carbon emissions sending food waste to landfill produces, the report noted.
On the other hand, the report highlighted that 27% of the responding UK businesses said they do not recycle food waste at all, with 38% of the respondents not regarding food waste as a core priority.
The legislation currently in place across the border requires any business producing more than 5 kilograms of food waste per week to recycle it via a registered waste carrier service.
The law has been in place since 2014. To start with, only businesses producing more than 50 kilograms weekly were within its scope, but this dropped down to 5 kilograms two years later (see letsrecycle.com story).
According to Mr Keenan, “this is what the English legislation that’s proposed to be introduced in 2023 is likely to enforce”. He reasoned that most businesses should be looking to become more educated about food waste recycling and its “many benefits”, including moving towards a more circular economy.
The report referenced United Nations’ research, which found that the UK produces around 5.2 million tonnes of food waste a year, with food waste recycling “a large part of the solution”.
The document explained that sending food waste to landfill along with general waste is harmful to the environment as its rots down and produces greenhouse gas methane, which is worse than CO2. Therefore, food waste recycling can also help reduce a business’ carbon footprint, it added.
“With pending legislative change and pressure for organisations to make public their own net zero plans, food recycling will be key to how commercial operations function sustainably in the future, so the best time to become involved with it is now,” Mr Keenan concluded.