Major UK Corps Agree To Slash Food Waste

In most cases, corporations won’t do what’s right unless it’s the law. When we change the laws to mandate that they become cleaner, safer, and more efficient, however, it’s surprising what a difference these big companies can make. In very rare instances, corporations agree to do what’s good for us and the planet without being forced, and that’s when they become real agents of positive change.

The British versions of some of the world’s biggest food companies, along with 65 UK hotels, restaurants, contract caterers and government departments, have all voluntarily agree to cut food and associated packaging waste by five percent by 2015.

The Hospitality and Food Service Agreement will use 2012 waste and C02 emissions levels as a baseline, and if successful, could result in a CO2 reduction of 234,000 tonnes and save the equivalent of about 100 million meals from the landfill. Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd, Greene King, Greggs and Unilever Food Solutions are among the major brands that have already signed up.

“Reducing our impact on the environment is the right thing to do – but reducing waste also makes good business sense,” said Brigid Simmonds OBE, Chief Executive British Beer & Pub Association. ”While the brewing and pub industry has a good track record going back over 30 years, we can always do more.  We are pleased to be part of the Voluntary Agreement and look forward to working with WRAP in helping the industry to make further progress towards the targets.”

The voluntary agreement also targets an increase in the overall rate of food and packaging waste being recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion or composted, to at least 70 percent by the end of 2015.

If just 25 percent of the food sector committed to meeting the targets in the agreement, they could could save up to £76 million ($118 million) and reduce their CO2 emissions impact by 570,000 tons by the end of 2015, according to WRAP the research organization that helped develop the voluntary program.

Research by WRAP also indicates that if avoidable food waste was prevented and unavoidable food waste diverted to anaerobic digestion, the potential savings to industry would be more than £720 million (over $1.1 billion) a year.

Related Reading:

Half Of The World’s Food Wasted

Would You Use Compost To Power Your Car?

Does Your Annual Food Waste Exceed Your Body Weight?

Image via Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Howard Crosse
.5 years ago

Reducing packaging is an excellent idea, what I have noticed recently is that whilst UK supermarkets are offering 'loose' (that is not packaged) fruit and vegetables they are actually more expensive those that come wrapped in numerous layers of plastic. Not only am I, as the consumer, paying for this packaging I am then paying again for the waste to be taken from my home! Regarding the issue that Mit W raises, I don't think that the article is suggesting that unfit food should be allowed in to the food chain but in honesty not too many people have died from eating a bruised apple, misshappen carrot or less than perfectly shaped potato indeed there are many people who would welcome the opportunity to buy such products (at a suitably reduced price of course).

Mit Wes
Mit W5 years ago

I got news for you Beth Buczynski. It's the law that indirectly requires food waste, and for fairly good reasons. Better to waste the food than risk sickness and possibly death in expired foodstuffs. Better to ditch the carcass than to insert one from a sick animal into the food supply.

Berny P.
berny p5 years ago

Better late than never!

Gabriela S.
Gabriela Sosa5 years ago

what about 100%?

Anthony O'hara
Anthony O'hara5 years ago

Has anyone approached the Army, Navy and Air Force about this ? When serving myself 20 years ago I was appalled at the food waste there.

Patricia Garcia Ces
Patricia Ces5 years ago

Very useful post!!

Prentise W.
pre,tpse w5 years ago

I knew a woman who collected recycling in a big park, and she also rescued at least 500 pounds of food per year, feeding the discarded grains, meats, and veggies to dogs, cats, wild birds, and poultry. And that didn't include the 500 or so pounds of cooked white rice that she had to leave behind, because there was no use for it.

Heather Marvin
Heather Marvin5 years ago

In Australia some corporations have changed laws so that they can give left overs to welfare organisations that feed the hungry. It is working and many disadvantaged are receiving meals they wouldn't normally have.

Melania Padilla
Melania P5 years ago

Excellent! It should be done everywhere!