The new scheme has been announced as research from food waste recycler ReFood and entrepreneurial charity BioRegional has called on firms to recognise the value of food waste which can be turned into energy, provide nutrients for agriculture and generate heat.
The Mayor is now working in partnership with the European Regional Development Fund and London Waste and Recycling Board to support over 240 small and medium-sized businesses in cutting food waste over the next 18 months.
The ‘FoodSave’ project will help businesses in a variety of ways including:
- Identifying where most food is wasted
- Providing advice on how to reduce food waste
- Helping businesses send food to people in need through organisations that redistribute food
- Helping businesses to direct food waste to feed animals such as pigs (where legally permitted)
- Where food waste can’t be avoided, support composting and renewable energy generation.
FoodSave will directly support 240 businesses and by March 2015 aims to achieve overall savings of £360k and prevent more than 1,000 tonnes of food waste being sent to landfill. The Mayor is also working with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) and Sustain - the alliance for better food and farming - to deliver the project directly with food businesses.
The SRA will work with restaurants, hotels, pubs, quick-service restaurants and canteens. Sustain will work with businesses involved in food retail, food manufacturing and preparation, food growing, farming, catering, street food, market stalls and wholesale markets.
Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor’s senior adviser on environment, said: “’FoodSave is a brilliant initiative that can help businesses reduce their food waste disposal costs and become more efficient. I encourage as many businesses as possible to get involved and both save money and help the environment.”
According to the ‘Vision 2020: UK Roadmap to Zero Food Waste to Landfill’ report, the reduction of food waste by households, businesses and the public sector would save the UK economy more than £17bn a year by 2020 and prevent 27m tonnes of greenhouse gas a year from entering the atmosphere.
Over 1.3m tonnes a year of valuable nutrients would be returned to the soil, while enough electricity to power over 600,000 homes would be generated, the report claimed.
FoodSave has already started working with a small number of businesses and the project will be rolled out to many more early in the new-year. If you are a food business and would like to find out more about the project you can visit www.foodsave.org.