What to do with food waste: tips for businesses

food waste

One of the ways to develop a sustainable outlook to business is to think about what happens to your business waste.

This includes food waste. Whether you generate substantial food waste (such as businesses in the hospitality sector) or not, food waste is worth consideration. In working out what to do with food waste, the following is an overview of some critical considerations.


What happens to food waste?If you put your food waste into your general waste bin, it could end up in landfill. It is a common misconception that food waste harmlessly decomposes. In actual fact, it rots – forming harmful methane gas. It also has potential to seep into our groundwater.

The cost of food wasteAround of a third of the world’s food ends up in the bin (waste which has a cost equivalent of around $984 billion. The UK generates more food waste than any country in Europe. While this is undeniably socially and environmentally disturbing, this has notable economic consequences. It is also cheaper to recycle food waste than it is to send it to landfill.

Food waste is an environmental issue The UK’s food supply chain is responsible for around a fifth of its carbon emissions. Recycling food waste would be the environmental equivalent of removing one in five cars from the road.

The cost of heavy binsFood waste can be immensely heavy. This, firstly, has certain effects on health and safety – both of your staff and the person collecting your waste. If your general waste bin is overweight, it is going to cost you anything from 12p to 30p per kilo and that adds up fast!


What can’t I put in my food waste bin?

  • Food waste packaging (this includes cardboard and paper). Generally, food waste in its primary packaging is acceptable, but secondary packaging contaminates the bin.
  • Liquids
  • Oil
  • Black bags
  • Large bones
  • Glass
  • Compostable packaging
  • Metal
  • Meat which is not intended for human consumption

What can I put in my food waste bin?

As a general rule, aim to only throw loose, unpackaged waste and animal bi-products into your food waste bin.

  • Raw and cooked meat, fruit, and vegetables
  • Non-liquid dairy products
  • Coffee grinds (no filters) and tea bags
  • Plate scrapings
  • Peelings
  • Egg shells
  • Small quantities of bones
  • Liquids in small amounts – preferably frozen
  • Packaged food waste in cardboard or plastic


  • Food waste is collected by sealed, specialised food pods.
  • It is taken to an anaerobic digestion facility, where it is pre-treated.
  • Biodegradable food is broken down by micro-organisms (methanogens) in an oxygen-free setting, transforming it into digestate (often used in agricultural applications) and biogas or bio methane (methane and carbon dioxide).
  • Biogas is stored, purified, and becomes a source of renewable energy.

Smarter Business provides in-depth industry knowledge to the disposal of your business waste. Through industry expertise, they are able to offer tailored general and food waste solutions to every kind of business – including members of the hospitality and restaurant industries. Clickhereto elevate your waste services to the realm of strategy for cost effective, sustainable business.