On average, UK care homes are spending £50,862 every year on sending their food waste to landfill, but recycling food waste could save them £7,000 per year, according to new research from Keenan Recycling.
This comes as the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Environmental Act is fast approaching, which plans to make it a legal requirement in England for companies to recycle food waste. The study, conducted by the national food waste recycling company, also revealed that 64%* of care homes in the UK either don’t know about the legislation or if they do, have little or no understanding of it.
On top of this, almost half (48%) of UK-based care homes do not think food waste is a core priority, and nearly half (42%) said that they do not recycle food waste at all.
However, although care homes said that they are unprepared and uneducated for the legislation, 65% did say that they were working to gain an understanding of it and 56% said that they were concerned about the carbon emissions sending food waste to landfill produces.
Grant Keenan, managing director at Keenan Recycling, said: “Funding is one of the greatest pressures on all our budgets at the moment. We’re all impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, but the care home industry has the double whammy of not only balancing resource constraints but also the cost to people. A saving of £7,000 could see invaluable flexibility to provide extra support for staff to giving residents access to more treatments.
“On top of this, with pending legislative change and pressure for organisations to make public their own net zero plans, food recycling will be key to how operations function sustainably in the future, so the best time to become involved with it is now.”
For businesses in Scotland, where Keenan’s headquarters reside, food waste recycling has been mandatory for those producing over 50kg of waste since 2014. This was then extended to any business producing over 5kg of waste in 2016, making it a legal obligation for any such business to recycle using a registered waste carrier service.
Grant ended: “This is what the English legislation that’s proposed to be introduced in 2023 is likely to enforce, meaning that most businesses should be looking to become more educated about food waste recycling and its many benefits, including financial, towards creating a more circular economy.”
For more insights download Keenan Recycling’s full ‘Food Waste Recycling 101’ report here.