Many food and drink processing businesses do not know their full waste costs. This affects competitiveness and profitability. The full cost of waste includes not just discarded materials, but also the costs of:
- raw materials, energy and water
- off-spec products
- wasted and duplicated labour
- replacement materials
- waste treatment
- waste disposal
There is also potentially the 'hidden' cost of damaged reputation among customers who return products.
How to reduce your waste
The most effective way of avoiding these costs is to eliminate or reduce the amount of your business waste. Typical priority areas for reducing waste from food and drink businesses include:
- Drain loss - the cost of liquid left in process vessels adds up over time. This is includes the value of lost product and cost of waste disposal. Changing your processes can reduce this.
- Ingredient waste - some loss (trimmings, peel, etc) is unavoidable but there may be a secondary market for the waste. Find out how to manage organic waste.
- Weighing errors - incorrectly calibrated scales can cause unnecessary product rejections, or over- or under-supply. Regular calibration will prevent this.
- Changeover waste - improving production planning will reduce waste ingredients when products are changed over.
- Packaging waste - poorly set up machines or failure to use part-rolls of material causes waste. See packaging and packaging waste management
- Water and effluent - reducing drain losses will cut effluent costs, but other efficiency methods can make further cuts. See food and drink business water efficiency
- Product write-offs - rejected products cost money and cause poor customer relationships. High standard quality control can eliminate these problems entirely. This means spotting and fixing problems early.
- Energy losses - improving energy efficiency can save you money and helps protect the environment.