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21st June 2023

Pubs and restaurants spending up to £50,000 a year sending food waste to landfill

The average UK hospitality business is spending over £50,000 every year on sending food waste to landfill. However, recycling food waste could save hospitality businesses up to £7,000 a year, according to new research from Keenan Recycling.

Despite this, just half (54%) of businesses say that they recycle food waste in order to minimise financial losses and only a third (32%) recycle food waste to avoid costly fines.

However, new legislation due to land in 2024, is expected to mandate that any business producing over 5kg of food waste will need to separate and recycle its waste through a registered food waste carrier service.

Failure to comply could put care homes at risk of potentially hefty financial penalties-with fixed penalty notices starting from £300.

The legislation is due to be introduced by both DEFRA and the Welsh Government, who are expected to enact the provisions of the Environment Act 2021, and thereby make the separation of food waste from other waste streams a requirement.

However, while the research suggests that businesses are not aware of the potential costs that sending food waste to landfill could incur, it did reveal that they are conscious of the indirect financial implications.

Almost half (44%) said they recycle food waste as a response to public sentiment and consumer demand and a further half (52%) of respondents cited that recycling food waste helps them adhere to hygiene standards.

Grant Keenan, managing director at Keenan Recycling, said: “We know businesses are keen to implement more sustainable methods of working, but they are facing a lot of pressure right now and there are many misconceptions around the true cost of food waste recycling.

“Our roundtable with key industry experts, including representatives from the hospitality sector, highlighted this. Businesses revealed that they are worried about the upfront costs involved in introducing new processes- such as investing in new bins, onboarding new food waste providers and providing training for staff.

“But actually, short term investment in proper food waste management systems will bring financial benefits in the mid to long term. In fact, we’ve seen real evidence of this in our research. We found that one takeaway serving its local community and spending £48 per week on general waste collection could make a saving of £36 per week by separating their food waste.

“On top of this, by looking at how to implement new processes now, businesses can ensure that there is time to support staff through the change and iron out any teething problems ahead of the incoming laws.”

For more insights from the research and findings from Keenan’s roundtable, visit:

If you’re based in England or Wales and would like support on how to prepare and get ahead of the curve for the incoming legislation, please contact us at:

Contact: Imogen Roberts,

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