Caterers At WorkCommercial catering companies operate in a number of environments, like music festivals, sporting venues and even weddings. Such companies are so common in everyday life that their presence is often taken for granted. Another component that is frequently overlooked is the waste these companies will inevitably produce.

What is Commercial Catering Waste?

By definition, the term ‘waste’ refers to an unwanted or unusable material or substance. This would include food and drink discarded by busy consumers, such as pizza crusts, apple cores and leftovers.

Perhaps on a bigger scale, however, is the waste produced by the food preparation process. Waste cooking oil and fat is often a big issue. If such waste products are not disposed of in the correct manner, companies can encounter a variety of problems. This includes blockages resulting in flooding and drainage system damage, which can affect neighbouring businesses and residents in turn. A very serious issue caused by the poor disposal of oil and fat is the risk of watercourse pollution, which can then lead to fines and prosecution for the offending party.

‘Zero Waste’ Initiatives

With such an environmental risk posed by the poor disposal of commercial catering waste, it’s important that those with responsibility make the effort to do their bit. Increased awareness of global environmental risks has led many to adopt a ‘zero waste’ initiative. Such policies are being used to help various workplaces and environments avoid producing any landfill-destined waste. If catering companies adopt these new initiatives, the policies should be pushed through the supply chain and even to the customer.

In the US, for example, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) has backed the introduction of ‘Zero Waste Zones’ in downtown Atlanta. These encourage the use of machinery alongside improved general practice to divert catering by-products away from struggling landfill sites to alternative destinations – such as farms and gardens – often in the form of compost. Such change is also being encouraged by UK groups such as Zero Waste Scotland.

Further Benefits of Cutting Waste

As well as helping the environment, catering companies that are quick to limit their waste output should find benefits closer to home. Zero Waste Initiatives should help companies to cut costs, which will no doubt lead to increased business. With changes made, there should also an increased demand for sustainable services and products. As well as the companies finding the initiatives beneficial, more jobs should be created within low carbon businesses.

This article was contributed by Norman James. Norman works for Alliance Online, one of the UK’s leading suppliers to the leisure, catering and healthcare industries. The company’s clients range from household name hotels to up-and-coming trendy bars and luxury gyms. With over 18,000 products available, commercial catering firms can source their supplies from a trustworthy source. As well as taking its own environmental responsibilities very seriously, the company offers a range of biodegradable catering supplies, such as foam plates and refuse sacks.