New AD site could help hospitality sector save 30% in waste costs

The introduction of backhauling schemes and the development of a new anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Rotherham could help save the hospitality sector 30% on its waste management costs every year.

More food waste would be sent to AD and the sector would become more efficient as overall waste costs would drop.

However, this will require a shift in the way waste contractors and food companies work together.

The findings come in a new study, published by the Hospitality Carbon Reduction Forum (HCRF), which represents 13,500 pubs and restaurants across the UK.

The likes of J D Wetherspoons, Mitchells & Butlers and Nandos are collectively spending £46m on waste management. Many are exposed to high landfill fees for food waste given the “gaps” in AD capacity. Some 150,000 tonnes of the forum members’ waste still ends up in landfill.

More efficient collection and delivery of food waste from pubs and restaurants could deliver between 15% and 25% of the additional feedstock required to fuel the extra AD capacity expected to come online between now and 2016.

edie revealed earlier this year that the SME hospitality sector is an untapped market for food waste offering potentially lucrative returns.

Today’s report, compiled by consultancy Carbon Statement, suggests nine possible trial opportunities for the forum, including the construction of a dedicated AD plant for waste from the forum’s members.

Currently all members pay for food waste to be collected and do not receive revenue from the energy that is subsequently generated.

Renewable energy company AMP has provided a quotation based on the members’ food waste location data and the proposed plant location in Rotherham. The timeframe from outline planning permission to site build is likely to be “in excess of three years”, according to the report.

The report’s author, Peter Charlesworth, said his research began following concerns raised by the forum over spiralling waste costs and a lack of available alternatives to landfill for some streams.

With utility costs expected to rise by at least 30% in the next three years, Charlesworth has estimated that hospitality sector companies will have to increase their turnover by more than 10% just to maintain their current business margins.

“The sector is up against it,” he said. “Scottish legislation due in 2014 will largely end the dumping of food waste to landfill, landfill costs are rising and fuel prices are continuing to drive up delivery and collection costs.

“A change in distribution and pricing brought about by the collaboration of the hospitality industry could lead a wholesale change in the way that companies manage their waste streams. This has the potential to create a ‘linked-up waste strategy’ that would work for the overall benefit of hospitality forum members and possibly be adopted by other sectors,” he added.

Whitbread Group head of energy and environment, Chris George, said the increased focus on collaboration to find waste solutions will mean members “benefit from reduced landfill charges and transportation costs, reduced carbon emissions as we start to generate off site energy, and improved environmental impact, as we’ll be doing more for less”.

Last year the Government introduced a voluntary scheme to encourage the foodservice and hospitality sector to reduce its food and packaging waste by 5%, as well as increase the amount of waste recycled, composted and sent to AD. Results from the first year are imminent.

edie staff

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