150,00 tonnes of food is wasted by the food sector each year in Ireland. 375,000 tonnes is wasted in the distribution and commerce of food. Overall, a staggering 1 million tonnes of food, if not more, is wasted annually here in Ireland. This is costing us as a nation over €1 billion. What’s more, this waste harms our environment by depleting our natural resources in the production of food that will go to waste, and by saturating our landfills. The following are five ways we can combat this overwhelming waste of food in the travel and tourism industry.
Measure your food waste efficiently to help you gauge where you have the biggest waste. 38% of waste is food left on the plate by a customer. 35% of food waste is created in its preparation. Examine what is thrown out the most and eliminate it.
Only buy amounts that you need. Buying in bulk is of course economical, but it unfortunately creates a lot of waste.
Redistribute your food. Food that has been unused can be sent to local charities to feed those who truly need it. 1 in 10 people in Ireland experience food poverty to a certain degree. Sign up to Food Cloud where you can donate your surplus food to local charities. We must remember that best before dates do not necessarily mean end of life, so revive it by redistributing and reusing it.
If you have any animals around your home or the workplace, collect surplus food and feed it to them. You could also donate this to any local animal shelters.
By composting, you will be giving your food waste another life. Composting reduces the amount of organic waste and reduces the need for fertilisers as it enriches soil, retains moisture and reduces plant diseases and pests. Alternatively, through anaerobic digestion, food waste can be converted into the renewable energy source, biogas. So give your food another life and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
By growing your own produce and supporting local suppliers, you can reduce the waste that is generated. Measure your food waste, reduce it, and manage it effectively. Start off small and educate your staff. To learn more on how you can reduce your food waste, which will inevitably cut your losses and make you a profit, visit stopfoodwaste.ie and sign the Food Waste Charter pledge.