It’s good for your business!
A high proportion of waste generated by food-related businesses such as restaurants, cafes, fast-food outlets and hotels is organic waste.
When you don’t deal with your food waste properly, it can build-up and become smelly, unsightly and off-putting to your customers. You also put your license at risk. Food safety standards and local legislation require food waste to be collected regularly from food premises to make sure it doesn’t accumulate and affect standards of cleanliness.
Participating in a food waste collection and a composting program can save you money. The government’s landfill levies are designed to promote recovery and recycling and divert waste from landfills. You can take advantage of these conditions by separating your organic food and garden waste on site and having it collected and recycled. As a comparison, the cost to collect and dispose food waste at landfill is approximately $0.48 per kilogram, compared to $0.32 per kilogram to collect and recycle.
And it’s great for the environment! The breakdown of food waste (and green waste) in landfills produces methane and carbon dioxide. Methane, in particular, is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Landfills in Australia capture only about 12% of total methane emissions. By recycling your food waste, your business can offset your greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s easier than you think
The key is having a commercial food waste collection partner that is reputable, experienced in the industry and able to deliver you a reliable commercial food collection service that ticks all the boxes for your business.
Your waste collection contractor should supply compostable bags, kitchen caddy (if required) and appropriately labeled bins that are leak-proof and have tight-fitting lids. Food waste should not come into contact with the internal surfaces of the bin.
You/your team can place food waste into compostable bags in the kitchen, then deposit into the bins stored in an external area. This reduces the need for you to hose out the inside of the bins.
WCT is licensed by the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) to accept and process solid commercial food waste.
The EPA has released a position to clarify what constitutes commercial food waste in the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009.
Briefly, EPA considers that solid commercial food waste is biodegradable and generated at the food processing, food retail and post-consumption stages. Wastes produced in the primary production stage, including animal mortalities (not for consumption) and manures, are not solid commercial food waste and should be assessed to determine whether they are free of liquids and then should be categorised to determine if they are prescribed industrial waste (PIW) or industrial waste. WCT is not licensed to accept PIW.
Commercial Food Waste Collections – how it works
It works in much the same way that other waste materials (such as paper, cardboard, glass, plastics, metals) are separated on-site and collected for recycling.
Within the business, you place food waste into kitchen caddies with compostable bags. You tie the full bags and place in a bin (with a tight-fitting lid) stored in an external garbage area.
Standards require that the amount of garbage or recycled matter accumulated at your premises does not exceed the capacity of your storage containers, to prevent putrefaction and odor problems.
Waste collection contractors will usually supply 120 or 240-litre plastic wheelie bins for the storage of food waste and collect the bins in a rear-loading vehicle. If large volumes of food waste are generated at the premises, front-lift bins (1.5 to 4.5 cubic meters) or stationary compaction equipment may be appropriate.
As a food business owner or manager, you should speak with a reputable waste collection contractor about the number and type of food waste containers or bins you need, the available storage area for garbage and recycled materials, and how often waste needs to be collected.
Acceptable Organics – what can be composted?
Food waste that can be used in compost production includes: fruit and vegetable material; cooked or uncooked food; meat, poultry and bones; eggs and eggshells; fish and other seafood; bread, rice, pasta, cereals; paper towel and tissues; tea leaves, tea bags and coffee grounds; dairy products including cheese; and, yoghurt and cream.
Small amounts of paper and cardboard can be composted. However, these materials have a higher value as an input in the manufacture of new paper and cardboard products.
Compost contamination mainly comes from metals, plastic, wood and other non-biodegradable waste, including hazardous waste.