Improving Waste Management through a Waste Minimisation Scheme

21 October, 2013
Pat Perry

Every 90 minutes in the UK we produce enough waste to fill a swimming pool. Of this, 73% goes to landfill when up to 90% could be recycled, composted or used to generate energy.

Businesses and organisations are continuously encouraged to re-use and recycle, so why's it still such a big issue? Pat Perry, Executive Chairman, at leading health and safety consultants, Perry Scott Nash, offers some advice on making sure your kitchen is doing all it can.

The best way to start managing waste better is to enforce a 'Waste Minimisation Scheme.' This will help you and your team to identify room for improvement and keep track of your success, not to mention funds saved.

You can start by simply identifying packaging, equipment and products you don't need, and looking at what can be reused, maybe even in another business? Ensuring there are clearly labelled containers for recycling paper, plastic and glass will help remind customers and fellow staff members not to instinctively use the waste bin.

The Environment Agency demonstrates waste management options through a hierarchy: Reduce - Re-use - Recycle - Recover - Dispose, with reducing being the most preferable, followed by reusing, and so on, up to dispose, which should be a last resort.

Here are our Top Tips for reducing waste in your kitchen:


  • Request reusable, recyclable or recycled packaging from your supplier.
  • Do not over-package take away items
  • Bulk buy produce to reduce unnecessary packaging.
  • Ask before giving customers carrier bags and disposable cutlery - if you use less it costs you less.
  • Encourage customers to reuse containers.
  • If using disposables, only give each customer one disposable napkin - not a handful


  • Serve sauces and vinegar in refillable containers.
  • Use washable fabric tablecloths, rather than paper.
  • Refill glass bottles or jugs for water instead of selling bottled water - saves you waste disposal costs and keeps the customer happy.
  • Use concentrated cleaning agents in refillable containers.

If you have items that cannot be dealt with by any of the above:

  • Talk to your waste contractor or your council about recycling collections.
  • Arrange for food waste to be collected and composted.
  • Consider composting uncooked vegetable peelings in a "back door" composter.
  • Have your used cooking oil collected and turned into an eco-friendly biofuel.

A successful waste minimisation programme depends a great deal on staff involvement and team working, and so getting staff involved allows them to take ownership of the improvements and increases their motivation to find opportunities to reduce waste. Clear communication of recycling and reusing procedures along with training to identify the correct procedure for each type of waste is essential and very worthwhile for kitchen managers.

In businesses, annual savings of £1000 per employee are typically made through waste minimisation programmes. It's worth your while, and makes an enormous difference to the world.

For more information on this or other matters relating to health and safety in the workplace Contact Us.

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