Food waste recycling and packaging

Resources for food businesses

  1. Food waste recycling and packaging: what you can do and why you need to.
  2. Certification and awards: some ideas about how to demonstrate your commitment to health, well-being and the environment.
  3. Good for people and planet: sustainability and health.
  4. Organisations and articles: interesting websites, blogs and articles.
  5. Talking about sustainability: tips on how to talk to customers and staff about tricky issues like sustainability.
  6. Interesting webinars and events

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  1. Reducing Food Waste
  2. Reducing Packaging
  3. Using refills and reusables
  4. Reducing plastic pollution


WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme)
WRAP’s website hosts a mountain of resources, campaigns and information regarding food waste. Here are the sections most closely relating to food waste management in food sector businesses:

  • Food waste in the hospitality sector – practical guidance and tools to help you target, measure and reduce food waste throughout your business.
  • Food waste in retail – a 3-step process to help retailer reduce losses and improve resource efficiency along the value chain.
  • Food waste in manufacturing and production – how to reduce waste in your supply chain, and work with those ‘up stream’ to bring about both environmental and economic benefits for all
  • The Courtauld Commitment 2025 – an ambitious voluntary agreement among organisations across the food system to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable.

Commercial Food Waste Collections in Bristol
Compiled by Bristol Food Network, this page is a useful guide to the confusing world of food refuse collection.

The Green Kitchen Standard
The Soil Association’s award, mostly aimed at caterers, awarding positive steps made to sustainably manage energy, water and waste.

SRA Food Made Good Award
Food Made Good is an award open to its membership community, driven by the Sustainable Restaurant Association and dedicated to making every meal served out of home as sustainable as possible.

How to reduce plastic in your business

Why do you need to do this? It’s the law!
UK Plastic Pact
Complying with the waste hierarchy* is enshrined in UK law (see The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011). Over 40 major UK operators have signed WRAP’s UK Plastics Pact to reduce the use of unnecessary and problematic plastics (and to make those that are used 100% recyclable or compostable) by 2025.

Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) have said their plans will be the same as EU regulations when it comes to single-use plastic. In some cases, the UK’s plans are more ambitious, such as a new tax for single-use plastic with less than 30% recycled content.

The UK Plastics Pact is a trailblazing, collaborative initiative that will create a circular economy** for plastics. It brings together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with UK governments and NGOs to tackle the scourge of plastic waste.

*What is the waste hierarchy?

While we can’t fix a broken system in a day, we can work towards a world where reducing and reusing are the norm, where we recycle if we have to, and where single-use packaging is the exception.

The waste hierarchy starts with the best strategy (to reduce) and ends with the worst (throwing things away).

The EU Waste Framework Directive that first came up with the idea in the 1970s, states that waste must be “managed without harming the environment, in particular without risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals and without adversely affecting the countryside”. The directive also lays out the ‘polluter pays’ principle, firmly putting the responsibility at the door of polluting perpetrators.

You can find out more at

** What is meant by a circular economy?

WRAP describes the circular economy as ‘an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life’.

You can find a good description of how the circular economy model relates to the food sector on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation website. See also An SME’s guide to reducing your carbon footprint and environmental impact.

See also our blog from Resource Futures: Developing more closed-loop or circular systems.



Plastic Pollution Awareness & Action Projects – Bristol-based charity particularly focussing on plastic containers used for take-aways.

Refill – did you know 340 million plastic bottles would be saved every year if just one in 10 Brits refilled their water bottle every week instead of buying it bottled? This campaign points people to establishments where water is freely available – to customers and passers-by alike. Find out how your business can get involved.

City to Sea – noisy and very active campaigning charity based in Bristol and involved in many areas of plastic pollution reduction.

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