Summary

In the context of 920,000 tonnes or 1.3 billion meals of food being thrown away each year in the UK food & hospitality services sector, out of which an estimated 75% could have been eaten,xliv London has launched a new voluntary scheme for cafes, pubs, restaurants and wholesalers to reduce food waste, saving thousands of pounds in the process.

FoodSave, launched in November 2013, is a project to help small and medium-size food businesses reduce their food waste, put surplus food to good use and dispose of unavoidable food waste more responsibly, through processes such as composting or anaerobic digestion. It offers food waste audits and promotes simple measures, such as offering customers different portion sizes, measuring side dishes in cups, using leftover food for its soup of the day and menu specials, and raising staff awareness of what not to throw away.xlv

The FoodSave scheme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the London Waste and Recycling Board and the Mayor of London, has been run in partnership with the Sustainable Restaurant Association that delivered FoodSave for food service and hospitality businesses (including restaurants, pubs, staff canteens, hotels and cafes) and Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming that ran the project for retailers, manufacturer and wholesalers.

 

Results

By March 2015, the FoodSave scheme has helped around 200 of London’s small hospitality businesses better manage their food waste, reduce food waste by over 150 tonnes and divert over 1,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill (an estimated equivalent of 3,270 tCO2exlvi), while saving businesses over £350,000 associated with waste reduction and disposal. At the same time, the project holds many lessons for London to drive food waste down across the city hospitality sector.

 

Reasons for success

London has seized the opportunity of external funding to build an innovative public-private partnership with hospitality sector representatives and individual businesses to start addressing food waste through a voluntary food waste reduction scheme, while using the project outcomes as valuable lessons to guide future citywide food waste reduction programmes.

 

When/why might a city apply an approach like this

Cities having identified food and green waste as a major issue and considering it as special focus, or cities with ambitious climate change targets in general (since food waste generates significant portion of GHGs) should consider this approach, in particular to stimulate action among private actors. 

 

C40 Good Practice Guides

C40's Good Practice Guides offer mayors and urban policymakers roadmaps for tackling climate change, reducing climate risk and encouraging sustainable urban development. With 100 case studies taken from cities of every size, geography and stage of development around the world, the Good Practice Guides provide tangible examples of climate solutions that other cities can learn from. 

The Waste to Resources Good Practice Guide is available for download here.  The full collection of C40 Good Practice Guides is available for download here.  

All references can be found in the full guide.