Nearly 25% of food produced in Australia ends up in the landfill before it can reach the shelves.
According to a recent study by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment and Refrigerants Australia, more than $3 billion of Australia’s annual food production is wasted while in transport or storage. The study indicates the opportunity is with manufacturers, logistics companies and retailers to avoid wastage in their role as part of the cold food chain.
The study raises a few interesting questions for businesses in any environment – what are you wasting, where is the waste coming from and how can it be avoided?
The first step is simply taking a good hard look at what’s in your bin and to really question, could it have been recovered? Could it have been sold? It might seem strange for a waste company to focus on reducing waste, but this is exactly Cleanaway’s approach to helping our customers achieve the best economic and environmental outcomes.
Helping customers reduce waste produced in the first place
Logic, and the food waste hierarchy, tells us that while recycling is good, preventing waste is even better.
In one supermarket waste health check, we discovered that multiple bags of flour were being binned regularly due to damage to the packaging while in transit. Once the handling of the bags was corrected with the transport company, the problem never resurfaced, saving the customer a lot on the heavy cost of flour in the general waste bin and stock loss.
In another example, our bin audit showed that a staff working for a wine and spirits business was throwing out entire slabs of beer even though only a couple of bottles were broken. After highlighting this to the management team, we never found another good bottle of beer in the bins again.
Some customers find opportunity to optimise operations and profit at multiple points in the production chain. A supply chain review with a baked goods manufacturer identified they were over-ordering stock and poorly managing inventory which was driving waste up. A simple change to their baking plans meant more efficient stock use, lower ordering costs and less waste.
Recovering resources from waste
Where waste avoidance is not possible, Cleanaway can help businesses recover food waste through our innovative organics recycling technology. Organics recycling offers a number of benefits to businesses including reducing the weight and cost of the general waste bin while improving landfill diversion and sustainability rates.
Our EPA-approved organics recovery facilities help cafes, shopping malls, kitchens, bakeries and other food and beverage businesses turn food waste into high-grade compost compost and mulch to be used a soil fertiliser.
For bulk food manufacturers and supermarkets, our food depackaging technology in Victoria takes large volumes of food or liquid packaged in aluminium, plastic, liquid paperboard or cardboard and separates the organic material to be recycled.