New Industry Report Underlines The Importance of Food Recycling

Recently, the sustainability body, WRAP, published its Retail Survey that indicates to what extent the country’s largest grocery retailers and major brands have made progress, in regards to implementing guidance on packaging. This guidance includes date labels, product life, pack size and storage/freezing advice.

In this blog, we’re going to be taking a look at their key findings, which also underline the importance that food recycling can have for householders and businesses alike.

WRAP’s Latest Report & The Importance of Food Recycling

How food and drink is packaged, labelled and priced can influence the volume of household food waste – so retailers and brands are well-placed to help minimise the amount of food that’s wasted. This is why WRAP visited around sixty supermarkets and examined 2,000 food products that were the most frequently-wasted. Their research found that a quarter of all pre-packed unprepared fresh produce carried no date label, whilst the available shelf life of other products (such as milk) has increased.

Whilst the progress has been positive, there are still several areas in which brands need to put in more work or are falling short. So let’s delve into them – as well as the benefits of food recycling.

What The Report Says

  • The positives. The amount of product life information that is available to consumers has remained stable on most products. However, more than a fifth of items had two (or fewer) days remaining life – including bread and minced beef produce. Milk saw an increase of 1.5 days of available shelf life, which was seen as ‘excellent’ as the extra day alone could help reduce milk wastage by more than 20,000 tonnes a year.

    A quarter of all pre-packed unprepared fresh produce does not now carry a date label – bringing it in line with WRAP’s undated guidance. Three retailers have removed the ‘best before’ dates on some fresh produce, whilst another has already committed to removing them from selected goods in the near future.

    Almost all products had correct home storage advice, and the ‘Little Blue Fridge’ logo (instructing people to store the product below 5°) has increased in prominence. This is seen by WRAP as ‘excellent’, as it helps to prompt people to check the temperature of fridges. Keeping them at the right temperature will keep food safe and fresher for longer.

    There has also been a big rise in the use of the snowflake logo (indicating that the product is suitable for freezing) – increasing from 15% to almost 50%. The number of bread items that carry the snowflake logo has doubled to 79% – freezing is a great way to extend the life of bread items, reducing the likelihood of them going bad and being thrown away.

  • Needs more work. There was little evidence WRAP found of retailers having implemented guidance to remove ‘open life statements’ (except where food safety is an issue). For example – hard cheese has an available average life of 64 days, but 90% of packs carried advice to use it within 5-7 days of opening. As a result of these findings, nine retailers are now reviewing or amending open life on dairy products.

    Bagged salads will typically have a very cautious open life of just a single day, and more brands could potentially extend this.

    More than 70% of fresh potatoes carry a best before label, with the average available product life decreasing from five to four days. When surveyed, more than 10% of 2.5kg bagged potato had less than two days available product life.

Whilst there were some instances of smaller pack sizes (dairy and meat items, for example), small packs of bread (400g loaves) were found in two-thirds of stores and were on average, 74% more expensive per kg than 800g loaves.

WRAP has said that they want the phrase ‘freeze on day of purchase’ stopped, as this could lead people to throw away perfectly good food into waste, instead of freezing it up until the date mark. Three retailers have completely removed this, whilst eight more are removing the remaining few products that contain this statement.

How Can Recycling Food Waste Offer Additional Help In Cutting Waste?

Whilst the above are steps are for food producers and retailers to follow, there are methods that we can all use to reduce the amounts of food that we throw away. If you operate a business in the catering industry, food recycling is a fantastic method to use – here’s why:

  • Financial benefits. As businesses face constant rises in landfill costs, recycling food waste instead will vastly reduce the amounts of waste sent to landfill, reducing costs. Choosing to recycle food will also see a person notice how much they actually throw away – often, this is the first step to reducing the amounts thrown away, saving even more on costs.

  • Great for the environment. Industry statistics say that food waste accounts for over 40% of all waste that is sent to landfill by the hospitality sector. With carefully-labelled products and food recycling helping to reduce the amount sent to landfill, this will diminish the production of harmful ‘landfill gas’ that negatively effects the environment. Also, food waste can be turned into many other useful applications, such as plant fertiliser or renewable energy, further saving on the resources we use.

  • Boosts the reputation of a business. With an increasing focus on the benefits of recycling for the environment, many people may seek out businesses that go out of their way to take a sustainable approach – giving such places a great marketing boost. Furthermore, as most people are already used to separating their domestic waste into separate containers, they will expect such facilities to be in place in the food production sector too.

So if you’re thinking about taking a more sustainable approach to the way you deal with food waste, why not consider the expert food recycling service here at BKP?

Choose BKP For Swift, Efficient Food Recycle In The UK

Here at BKP, we can help to provide the quick and easy removal and recycling of all of your food waste. Regardless of the size of your business, we are equipped and ready to help you look at more greener solutions, offering a plethora of sustainable long-term benefits.

Although we’re based in Romsey, Hampshire, being part of the GRG waste management group of companies gives us the ability to offer our leading services across the UK. Our waste disposal, treatment and recycling facility deals with all manner of waste materials; no job is too large or small for our team.

If you would like to discuss your food recycling needs in more detail, please feel free to give our waste management specialists a call today on 0800 376 5004. Alternatively, you can send any enquiries you may via e-mail to and we’ll get in touch as soon as possible.

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