Updated: 23 August 2018
While it may be easy for consumers to minimise waste through some simple lifestyle changes, it is often not as easy for businesses. Here we explore how businesses can look at food waste in a new way…
Food waste in Australia is a serious matter. Nearly half our household rubbish, is made of food. For households and businesses alike – this food waste comes at a cost. For businesses, food waste is an opportunity lost, with a tonne of food waste valued up to $10,000. At the end of the day, food waste is still waste. In order to reduce the amount of food wasted, businesses need to deploy better processes to improve the way they manage their stock.
For Cleanaway, this is where we can add huge value for our customers. We conduct regular waste audits with our customers to find out what’s going into their bins – it’s only then that we can start asking why, and work with our customers to figure out how to stop it.
Eggs are a common item in supermarket general waste and food donation programs. Up to 90% of the eggs found during Cleanaway waste bin audits across Australia, and in the US, are often not broken. These eggs could have been repacked for sale, or stock rotated once in 20 days to ensure they’re sold prior to their expiry date, minimising waste and increasing profitability for the business.
At Cleanaway, we talk about the triple bottom line of sustainability – the environment, society and the economy. Looking at food waste through these three filters is highly relevant to the supermarket sector. If you have a booming organics recycling program, whilst there are great environmental benefits – there is a very good chance you are composting food that could have been eaten.
Similarly, if you have a booming social program donating food to many of the charities who provide edible food to those in need, there is a very good chance you’re donating food that could have been sold. Finally, if you’re driven by profit and over-ordering or prioritising stock based on perceived consumer behaviours, there is a good chance you’ll end up with overflowing bins and unhelpful amounts of food waste.
That’s why we work with our customers to find that sweet spot. Making a sustainable future possible is not only about managing our waste effectively and safely, but it is also about minimising the amount of waste generated in the first place. A combination of sustainable thinking, proactive stock management, and change in attitude about what sellable produce looks like.
Total waste management solutions for businesses
At Cleanaway, we offer total waste solutions for all businesses in every sector including supermarkets, retailers and even building tenants, to help minimise waste and improve resource recovery rates. We also provide waste management education and training sessions on recycling and waste efficiencies.
We visited Stockland Head Office who had recently revamped their bin signage and were looking to engage staff with messaging about putting the right things in the right bin. We installed 3D pop-up education displays in all ten kitchenettes that encouraged staff to look at the new signage and to help them understand the right bin to use. The items that caused the most confusion were paper towels, coffee cups and takeaway containers.
We help achieve landfill diversion targets by working with property developers and food tenants like GPT’s Highpoint Shopping Centre to improve education and recycling infrastructure. Cleanaway also works with smaller businesses like Argo Café to improve their sustainability rates by helping them to recycle more and identify effective processes beyond the waste bin.
Cleanaway can help businesses manage their waste to maximise resource recovery and minimise the amount of waste going to landfill – helping to reduce their impact on the environment and improve their sustainability. Analysing the actual waste generated, and then working with businesses to improve their processes to minimise that waste – now that is being truly sustainable.
Contact us today to find out how we’re making a sustainable future possible.
This article is partly based on a presentation by Cleanaway’s National Sustainability Solution Specialist, Manny Manatakis, for the Waste Expo 2017 conference in New Orleans in May.