Preparing for the UK Environment Act
Updated: Mar 13
Under the new Food Waste Legislation coming into force in 2023, those in the hospitality sector, not already doing so, will be required to separate their food wastage from their general waste and have it collected separately. This is a significant step towards a more sustainable future, but if you're a business who hasn't yet made the move, what should you be doing to ensure compliance?
The UK’s new Environment Act was passed in November 2021 and has been eagerly anticipated by many who are passionate about a greener future. The powerful legislation provides an inspirational roadmap for how the UK can reduce its reliance on single-use products and move towards a renewable circular economy instead. Equally, there is a heavy focus on ensuring that waste and recycling are dealt with ethically, with laws concerning these coming into effect in 2023.
Focusing on four key areas, air quality, biodiversity, water and waste, in its strategy to improve resource efficiency and security, the Government is taking big steps to ensuring a sustainable future. Producers have been instructed to take greater responsibility for plastic use through extended producer responsibility schemes, while clearer labelling at the consumer end will make it easier to identify recyclable products. To reduce food waste, the government has committed to meeting a 20% reduction target by 2025 and eliminating food waste entirely from landfill by 2030.
How is waste management affected by the bill?
Some of the new measures of the bill will have a significant impact on how different organisations handle their waste. From 2023, all companies, including food manufacturers, cafés, hospitals, care homes, schools, fast food outlets, and hotels, that generate food-related waste will no longer be able to dispose of it by sending it to landfill or incineration. Nor can they macerate or digest it or turn it to grey water and send to the sewer. Doing so is now prohibited and organisations need to adopt new procedures for disposal. Companies will have to separate their food waste for collection and opt for alternative forms of disposal like composting or anaerobic digestion. This way they can contribute positively towards environmental sustainability.
Key points to acknowledge:
Food waste needs to be sent from your site as a clean, separate waste stream – either for composting or gas generation.
Food waste will no longer be allowed to be sent to sewer by maceration or digestion.
Food waste can’t be mixed with general or other waste.
What steps can hospitality businesses take in preparation?
Firstly, businesses must look closer at their food waste management practices and implement measures to reduce the amount of waste they generate. This approach could include careful menu planning, streamlined ordering processes, and more comprehensive measures such as composting and recycling. Through these processes, you can divert most of your food waste away from landfill and return organic matter to the environment through composting operations.
Secondly, businesses will need to ensure that they are using the most appropriate disposal methods for any waste they generate. For example, you should explore other food waste collection and recycling options and work with local authorities and waste management companies to find the most effective and sustainable solutions.
Thirdly, businesses will need to keep detailed records of their waste management practices and ensure they can demonstrate compliance with the new legislation via an annual food waste return. This activity could involve implementing new reporting systems and training staff on the importance of accurate record-keeping.
Finally, businesses may need to make changes to their operations to meet the new legislation's requirements. Options may include investing in new equipment and technologies to improve efficiency and reduce waste and working with suppliers and customers to promote more sustainable practices across the supply chain.
In summary, the new UK Environment Act represents a major step forward in the fight against food waste, and will significantly impact hospitality businesses across the country. To ensure compliance with the new legislation, you must take a proactive and strategic approach to waste management practices, implementing measures to reduce waste, exploring new disposal methods and keeping detailed records of their operations. By doing so, they will not only be helping to protect the environment, improve their bottom line, and ensure a sustainable future for their business and sector.
The good news is that preparing for such measures need not be cause for alarm. In fact, these new requirements can lead to both environmental benefits and improved business values, as experienced by those who have been embracing sustainable methods for years. Plus, Beacon works with several expert commercial waste management companies that can support your compliance with the new legislation.
For more information on the commercial waste operators that Beacon partner with, drop us a line via Live Chat or click the button below to complete our callback form.