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Hospitality waste report outlines opportunity to save millions in Scotland

The Scottish hospitality sector could stand to save an estimated £64 million a year by tackling food waste, according to a new report published today (7 July 2011) by Zero Waste Scotland. 

7 Jul 11

The report, The Composition of Waste Disposed of by the UK Hospitality Industry, estimates that businesses in Scotland’s hospitality sector send just over 130,000 tonnes of waste to landfill, and that around 77% of this is potentially recyclable materials in the form of food waste (41%), glass (14%), paper waste (13%), and card (9%). 

Food waste disposed of by the Scottish hospitality sector is estimated at 53,500 tonnes annually, two-thirds of which (35,800 tonnes) could have been eaten. If the avoidable food waste was prevented and the unavoidable food waste recycled, Scotland could save 150,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions, the same as taking almost 50,000 cars off the road for one year.

Zero Waste Scotland, the organisation set up by the Scottish Government to deliver the Zero Waste Plan, is now urging the hospitality sector to do more to prevent food waste, increase recycling and improve their environmental management processes.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
"Scotland’s hospitality sector plays a huge role in our economy and is enjoyed by visitors and residents alike. It’s staggering that an estimated £64 million could be saved by the Scottish hospitality sector each year through preventing food waste and increasing recycling. Harnessing the energy and resource potential of food waste - which can be made into clean energy and fertilizer - is a core aim of our zero waste agenda.
“The Scottish Government wants to drive behaviour change in all sectors to prevent waste arising in the first place and recycle what we can. In support of this, the Scottish Government has provided over £6m to expand the network of anaerobic digestion facilities across Scotland, and is making a further £4m available to support the collection of food waste."

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, said: 

“This report identifies a real opportunity for businesses of all sizes operating in the Scottish hospitality sector to cash in on cost savings by taking simple actions to prevent food waste and recycle more. 

“Many businesses in the hospitality sector are already working hard to increase recycling rates, and Scotland’s commitment to becoming a ‘green tourism’ destination will hopefully motivate more businesses in the sector to embrace zero waste.  However the amount of waste going to landfill which could be recycled still remains an issue in this sector. 

“Recycling unavoidable food waste holds dual benefits.  Not only could it help firms reduce landfill disposal costs, it also prevents greenhouse gas emissions given off as the material breaks down.  Sending food waste to anaerobic digestion (AD) instead allows that gas to be used for renewable energy and we are seeing real growth in AD infrastructure at present.”

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