What does the Environment Bill mean for the hospitality industry?

Ambiance: room service serves breakfast in a hotel

The UK’s new Environment Bill was finally passed and became law in November 2021, two years after first being introduced.

But what does the new legislation mean for the hospitality industry in particular, and how will it impact the sector over the next 12 months?

Food waste legislation changes in the UK hospitality sector

The driving factor behind the UK’s Environment Bill has always been to, ultimately, shift the sustainability dial in the right direction – veering away from being a single-use, ‘throwaway’ society and moving towards a more circular economy.

It aims to make resource efficiency and security a reality – introducing new extended producer responsibility schemes aimed at reducing plastic use, alongside a clearer labeling system, so consumers can easily identify what products and packaging are recyclable.

Also, another key area of the Bill surrounds separate food waste collections, and this will be one crucial area of change for hospitality businesses in England over the coming months.

While the Government has previously pledged to reduce food waste by 20% by 2025, the Bill has further compounded this by committing to eliminating food waste from landfill by 2030.

Therefore, under the new measures coming into force in 2023, those in the hospitality sector not already doing so, will be required to separate their food wastage from their general waste and have it collected separately.

This will be a bigger shift for some companies than it is for others – especially if there is currently no segregation of waste streams in the kitchens, or food waste is currently disposed of to a sewer by a digestion, waste-to-water system or traditional macerator. But these practices will no longer be compliant within the new legislation, so the industry needs to start reviewing and planning for the future as soon as possible.

Geography and lack of local infrastructure also needs considering. Businesses in more rural areas already know that it’s difficult to get wastes collected reliably, but now there’s going to be an extra collection, bin, and supplier needed. Therefore, now’s the time to be looking into how far away the closest food waste processing site is, and how easy and cost-effective it’s going to be to get it collected.

This shouldn’t be seen as anything to worry about though. There are ways the sector can prepare for and embrace these new measures, not only to reap environmental benefits, but to generate business value too. And there are many hotels and restaurants that have been doing this for years, whose tried-and-tested methods can be copied.

Food waste recycling at Le Manoir

How to recycle food waste in the hospitality industry

Here at Tidy Planet, we know all about food waste, as we’ve been working in the sector for over 20 years, and we work with hundreds of organisations – including many hotels, restaurants, and luxury resorts – helping them to close the waste management loop both efficiently and compliantly.

One of these tried-and-tested methods is on-site commercial food waste composting – as evidenced at sites such as Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir, The Torridon, Gili Lankanfushi, and South Lodge Hotel, to name a few.

But that’s not the only option at the hospitality and food service industry’s disposal, as another way to manage and minimise food waste in hotels and restaurants is by dewatering, or drying, the material.

The dewatering process help sites to reduce the volume of their organic waste by up to 80% and its weight by 50%. And, as a result, this means that establishments can benefit from significantly lowering their off-site collection and disposal costs – which also helps to reduce transport-related carbon emissions.

This is because companies are charged by weight to dispose of their waste. And with food waste, by its very nature, containing high levels of moisture, this means that it’s extremely heavy, and thus can quickly inflate third-party fees.

The same bottom-line-saving advantages are also associated with food waste drying machines too, as these commercial-scale reduction systems can reduce the volume and weight of waste by up to 90%. In turn, they create a dry, stabilised, and odourless resource that is not only easier and safer to store, without putrefying, but it can also then be fed into an in-vessel composter.

There is no doubting that food waste management in hotels and restaurants is tricky – not only are there unavoidable food preparation offcuts, but producing less waste also relies on consumers making environmentally conscious decisions about the amount of food they order.

But with legislative drivers meaning that organisations need to shift their current practices to be legally compliant by 2023, this should be seen as an era of opportunity for the hospitality and food service industries. And we’re extremely excited to be leading the way in helping the sector to adopt compliant and sustainable waste management practices, to comply with the impending legislation.

If you have any questions about the upcoming legislation or general queries about food waste composting for the hospitality industry, please contact our friendly team, and be sure to visit our library of case studies to see what other businesses in the sector have been doing.

And if you have any other questions, head over to our FAQs and see if we can help!

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