New research highlights cost of not recycling care home food waste

Care homes could save themselves up to £7,000 per year by recycling their food waste, according to new research by Keenan Recycling.

With the average UK business spending over £50,000 per annum to send food waste to landfill, recycling food waste could save care homes up to £7,000 a year, according to Keenan’s findings.

Despite this, only a third of care homes say that they recycle food waste in order to minimise financial losses, and only a third recycle food waste to avoid costly fines.

However, while the research suggests that care homes may not be aware of the potential costs of sending food waste to landfill, it did reveal that care homes are conscious of the indirect financial implications.

Almost half of homes said they recycle food waste as a response to public sentiment and consumer demand, while a further third said that recycling food waste helps them adhere to hygiene standards.

New legislation is expected to take effect 2024 that will mandate that any business producing over 5kg of food waste will need to separate and recycle its waste through a registered food waste carrier service. Failure to comply could put care homes at risk of serious financial penalties, with fixed penalty notices starting from £300.

Grant Keenan, managing director at Keenan Recycling, said: “We know our care homes want to implement more sustainable methods of working, but they are facing a lot of pressure right now and there are many misconceptions around the true cost of food waste recycling.

“Our roundtable with key industry experts, including representatives from the care sector, highlighted this. Businesses revealed that they are worried about the upfront costs involved in introducing new processes – such as investing in new bins, onboarding new food waste providers, and providing training for staff.

“But actually, short term investment in proper food waste management systems will bring financial benefits in the mid- to long-term. In fact, care homes could see themselves saving thousands each year.

“On top of this, by looking at how to implement new processes now, businesses can ensure that there is time to support staff through the change and iron out any teething problems ahead of the incoming laws.”

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