Council launches ‘Food for Thought’ to support businesses

Fife Council has launched a ‘Food For Thought’ campaign to raise awareness of new regulations which mean businesses producing more than 5kg of food waste a week are required to present the material separately for collection.
Roy Stewart, senior manager (Protective Services), said: “Our ‘Food For Thought’ campaign is particularly aimed at street traders, but if your business processes, distributes, prepares or sells food then these new regulations apply to you. Food businesses now need to put food in a container with a lid that can be closed and sealed and make suitable collection arrangements.
“Many businesses underestimate the cost of food waste, and there is also a cost to the environment as food waste accounts for over 40% of all landfill waste from the food sector. Every year over 500,000 tonnes of food is wasted by small businesses in the UK.”
“Separating food waste is simple, as long as you select the right food bins or bags for your waste.”
Under changes to the law since 1 January 2016, food businesses in urban areas across Scotland generating more than 5kg of food waste per week are legally required to have it collected separately for recycling.
The requirement has been brought in under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations, which originally came into effect in 2014. Until now, only food businesses generating more than 50kg of food waste each week were legally required to recycle it.
These waste regulations are for all small businesses involved with food, including street traders, restaurants, pubs, B&Bs, leisure centres, quick service and take-away restaurants that produce over 5 kg of food waste weekly.
Cllr John Wincott, Fife Council’s Sustainability Champion, said: “These new regulations now cover the majority of Scottish food businesses and they help to capture the value of waste as a resource. They will also form another strand in the fight against climate change.
“Food waste is treated at Fife’s anaerobic digestion plant where it is converted into gas which, in turn, is used to produce electricity. This new regulation will cut down on food waste being mixed with general waste and sent to landfill where it may produce gas emissions that add to climate change.
“The change is also good news for Fife’s recycling initiative, where organic waste can be used to create green energy and, in Fife, it also produces a useful by-product in the form of garden compost.”
Tips to help businesses comply with regulations:
  • Try to reduce waste – buy according to need and focus on cutting food waste. Analyse your waste, rotate stock so that that food items don’t go out of date and control portion size.
  • Train your staff and label bins – label bins stating clearly what should be recycled and ensure staff know what goes where.
  • Think before you throw – do not contaminate recyclables or food waste. Your waste contractor may refuse to uplift recyclables or food waste (or charge extra) if they are contaminated by other materials.
  • Review your waste management arrangements – for example, recycle as much of your packaging and bottle waste as possible to reduce the amount of rubbish you need collected.
For more advice and support, contact Fife Council:
Environmental Health – Food and Workplace Safety
Tel: 01592 583228, Email: dutyofcare.waste@fife.gov.uk
The new regulations are enforced by Local Authorities. If businesses do not meet the legislative requirements then an on-the-spot £300 fine can be issued.
Repeat offenders could face up to £10,000 in penalties.

Zero Waste Scotland, the organisation setup to deliver the Scottish government’s Zero Waste Plan, estimates that reducing food waste could save businesses £192 million a year.