Research finds significant opportunity for business to reduce food waste and save money

Analysis of waste audit data in the hospitality and food retail sector found significant opportunities for businesses to save money and reduce their environmental footprint through reducing or recycling more of their waste.

It shows hospitality and retail businesses could be reducing or recycling up to 98% of their current waste, but on average they are only reducing or recycling 27%. With an increase in avoidance or recycling, an extra 329,050 tonnes of waste could be saved from landfill.

The report was commissioned jointly with Sustainability Victoria and based on bin audits that provided the most extensive and detailed data of any Australian based study of these business classes.

Audits were distributed across metropolitan and regional councils, covering 433 individual businesses across seven different types of businesses, including cafes, restaurants, pubs and take away shops.

Out of the 31 types of waste recorded, food waste provided the biggest opportunity to reduce and recycle waste, with 237,100 tonnes of avoidable food waste currently going to landfill—nearly enough to fill Melbourne’s Eureka Tower.

Jill Riseley, MWRRG Chief Executive Officer said the research showed there was an opportunity for businesses to boost their bottom line by avoiding waste and reducing their environmental impact by improving recycling.

“In September we released Food waste recycling for business—a guide to reduce and recycle food waste and help businesses capitalise on the significant and untapped economic and environmental opportunity that exists. 

“This report is the most comprehensive of its kind in Australia and the data in it is critical to strategic decision making. Government and industry can both use this resource to reduce and recycle food waste,” she said.

The audits were commissioned to understand the different types of waste materials being generated by hospitality and retails businesses to identify ways to reduce waste and associated costs for them and inform future government strategies.

Reducing waste is a priority of the Victorian Government’s circular economy policy and plan—Recycling Victoria: a new economy—with targets to reduce waste to landfill by 80%, halve food waste and halve the amount of food and green waste sent to landfill by 2030.

Read Analysis of waste audit data in the hospitality and food retail sector.


Last updated: 16/12/2021