Food waste generated by primary and secondary schools during one academic year amounts to a staggering 80,382 tonnes of food waste, and almost half of this is reported to be fruit and vegetables*
As a result, BusinessWaste.co.uk is calling for local councils to be compelled by law to make arrangements to recycle food waste, as they currently only offer general waste collections to schools. This leaves the education sector solely responsible to fork out cash they don’t have, to help the planet. This change is crucial as food waste left to rot in landfill emits harmful greenhouse gases.
The environmentally-friendly waste management company says that the UK is in the midst of a food waste crisis, and whilst it is well-known that commercial and industrial waste accounts for one quarter of all waste in England, the impact of food waste from the education sector is a significant contributor.
Anaerobic digestion and composting are preferable outcomes for food waste, as rotting food left in landfill releases methane, one of the most damaging greenhouse gasses, and, it is estimated that the total food waste produced by the education sector accounts for a shocking 155,283 tonnes of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere.
Mark Hall, waste management specialist at BusinessWaste.co.uk commented: “While there are long-running campaigns to encourage households to reduce their waste footprint through buying more sensibly and composting their food waste at home, it seems that many schools are still lagging behind and relying on landfill to dispose of unwanted food, with little regard to the environmental impact.
“While it’s certainly possible for organisations to recycle food waste, far too many just don’t bother. Although this may initially seem like a big ask, all schools have to do is make an arrangement with their current waste management company to collect organic waste separately.
“We all play a moving part in fighting the food waste crisis, it starts with waste companies adapting their practices to enable greener collections and onward recycling, but it will only work if businesses also stand up and adapt their current practices. The government also plays a huge part and needs to incentivise and support businesses in becoming more environmentally conscious.
“All companies and organisations have a social responsibility to act now and make a change before it’s too late.”