Food waste is a growing concern worldwide, and Wales is no exception. In fact, recent studies show that 40% of food waste in the UK can be attributed to businesses and the hospitality industry.
This staggering figure is a wake-up call for all of us to take action and do our part to reduce food waste.
Food waste not only has negative environmental impacts, but it also has social and economic impacts. Wasted food means wasted resources, such as water and energy, used in the production and transportation of food. It also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, as rotting food releases methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas that is 25 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.
Food waste also has economic impacts for Welsh tourism and hospitality businesses, as it represents a loss of resources and money for businesses. In the UK, it is estimated that businesses in the hospitality industry waste approximately £3 billion worth of food each year. This is a significant amount of money that could be invested in other areas of the business.
So, what can businesses and the hospitality industry do to reduce their food waste?
The first step is to measure and track their food waste. By understanding how much food is being wasted and where it is coming from, businesses can identify areas for improvement and implement changes accordingly.
Another important step is to review and adjust portion sizes. Large portion sizes can lead to uneaten food, and businesses can reduce waste by offering smaller portion sizes or encouraging customers to take home leftovers.
Additionally, businesses can donate excess food to charity or compost it to reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfill. Food donation is a win-win situation, as it helps those in need and reduces the environmental impact of wasted food.
Hospitality and tourism businesses should also educate their staff and customers about the importance of reducing food waste. By raising awareness and promoting good practices, businesses can create a culture of waste reduction that benefits everyone.
Ultimately by taking action to reduce food waste, businesses can save resources, reduce their environmental impact, and help those in need. It's time for all of us to take responsibility for our food waste and make a positive change for the future.
Stop Food Waste Now!
In recognition of Stop Food Waste Day which took place last month, Fitzroy Hutchinson, Energy and Sustainability Manager at ICC Wales and The Celtic Collection, gives his advice on how hospitality businesses can reduce their food waste.
Giving back to the local community
Whilst it is crucial to support local suppliers it is also important to give back to the local area and to the environment. Across The Celtic Collection and ICC Wales, we collect all of the food waste and transport it to a local waste management facility, which generates it into renewable electricity for the South Wales Grid and for our venues. In addition to this, all of our oil waste is converted to biodiesel, which can be used to power vehicles and machinery.
Eat in season and local produce
In Wales, we are fortunate enough to have a rich natural larder, in fact Welsh lamb and beef rank alongside some of the world’s finest meats. Because of the country’s landscape we are blessed with incredible produce from our coastline, fields and valleys. While indulging in local delicacies it is also an opportunity to cut down on food waste.
Across The Celtic Collection, we utilise local suppliers in our restaurants and bars. For example, at The Parkgate Hotel you can try Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky, Cured Salmon in the Sorting Room restaurant and at The Celtic Manor Resort you can indulge in some of the finest cuts of Welsh beef in Steak on Six.
I would encourage event organisers to work with their venue to curate a menu that utilises produce that is in season and sourced as locally as possible. If more organisers and venues collaborated, it would likely contribute to less local food waste.
Research your venues
If you are keen to make your event greener, spend some time researching your prospective venues and reviewing their sustainability operations and policies. Many venues will have all of this information, plus their green credentials, available on their website but, if you can’t find what you are looking for or you are unsure of something, strike up a conversation with them.
It is important that if you are pledging to have a sustainable event that your venue reflects and aligns to your values. In my role, I am happy to sit down with clients to discuss what a sustainable event looks like to them and how we can help to deliver their goals. At The Celtic Collection, we proudly display our green credentials on our website and are happy to discuss how we manage our waste across the portfolio.