Guide

How to manage organic waste

How to produce less organic waste

Although organic waste management or treatment is important, it is not the most efficient use of resources for food and drink producers and hospitality businesses. The best approach is to avoid creating waste in the first place, as this will save you money.

If you can't avoid it, look at how you can reuse waste materials.

To help prevent waste, take the following steps:

  • Form a waste reduction team to lead initiatives to reduce and eliminate waste.
  • Obtain support - the help and commitment of everyone in your business, including senior management, is essential for effective waste reduction.
  • Measure - make an inventory of your materials and processes to identify ways to minimise waste.
  • Prioritise - target major sources of waste first, as this should yield early successes and savings. Look at the largest quantities going to waste and at the highest net costs.
  • Welcome ideas - talk to the key people involved in handling and dealing with each type of waste, and be prepared to challenge and question existing practices. You could ask why there is so much waste, whether anyone has looked at this as a problem before, whether there are processes that could be updated and what you think could be done to cut waste.

Your waste reduction team should be able to come up with a list of actions to reduce or eliminate waste. If necessary, hold an informal brainstorming session to get ideas. Estimate the costs and savings of different initiatives as accurately as possible.

You should also devise an action plan - for the short, medium and long term - with dates, costs and targets.

To be successful, you need to:

  • be systematic - some changes can be introduced almost overnight, while others will take longer and need careful planning
  • measure and quantify cost savings, payback periods and quantities of waste reduced
  • communicate - this will help to motivate staff and keep the board supportive