Here at The Waste Group, we’ve had skips returned to us with all sorts of stuff in them! If you’re interested in some of the weirdest ones, you can check out last week’s blog post.
However, people are often asking us for a list of what can and can’t be disposed of in a skip and there are some categories of waste that seem to garner more confusion than others.
One such is organic waste, most usually food and drink waste. We’re often asked ‘can I put food and drink waste in a skip?’, and the short answer is yes. Food and drink waste can be disposed of in a skip.
Read on to find out more.
What Is Food And Drink Waste?
The term ‘food and drink waste’ sounds simple enough, but there are actually several categories within that, making it a slightly more complex issue.
Food and drink waste is defined as any food or drink product that is disposed of due to loss, waste or being uneaten. According to Wrap, 9.5 million tons of food is wasted every year in the UK. That’s a lot of food that we’re throwing away and this loss can occur at every stage of the food cycle.
According to the same report;
“Estimated total UK post farm-gate food and drink waste is around 9.5 million tonnes per year, 70% of which could have been avoided. This has a value of over £19 billion a year, and is associated with around 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Households generate 6.6 million tonnes/year of which 4.5 million tonnes are avoidable. Overall 13% of edible food and drink purchases are wasted at a cost of £500 per year for an average household.
Levels of food and drink waste by commercial and industrial businesses in the food sector amount to around 2.9 million tonnes, with a value of over £5.2 billion.”
As a result, in the UK, we are disposing of huge quantities of food and drink waste every single day and that means that skips are often an effective way of removing extra waste, especially for commercial businesses.
For example, if you are an ordinary household and simply need to dispose of some additional bags of general household waste, possibly because it’s Christmas and your normal bin is full, then putting it in your skip is absolutely fine.
However, a lot of our skip hires are actually to commercial companies or projects, so we often get restaurants, breweries, pubs, shops etc. using our skips to dispose of larger quantities of waste, which is also perfectly acceptable.
What Happens To The Food And Drink Waste I Put In A Skip?
Naturally, as the quantities of food and drink waste being disposed of each year are so large, it’s imperative that it is disposed of appropriately.
In the UK, the vast majority of our food waste is either sent to landfill or incinerated, both of which obviously have devastating results for the environment. Food waste that is sent to landfill simply then rots away over time and releases methane and other greenhouse gases, which in turn contribute to global warming and can contaminate ground water.
However, here at The Waste Group, we always do everything we can to prevent food waste getting to landfill, focussing as much effort as possible on recycling and reusing wherever we can.
That’s why all our food and drink waste is sent to a local anaerobic digestion facility. Anaerobic digestion is the process by which organic matter, such as animal or food waste, is broken down to produce biogas and biofertiliser. The benefits of this process are not just that it is better for the environment but it also actively produces energy, which is an additional bonus.
This means that disposing of your food waste in a skip from The Waste Group is actually one of the most environmentally friendly ways of getting rid of excessive food waste. However, there are other options.
What Is The Best Way To Dispose Of Food And Drink Waste?
According to an article published in The Guardian, the average family in the UK disposes of up to £700 worth of food and drink every single year!! The sad reality of that fact is that much of that food waste could actually have been usable.
Obviously, the best answer in reducing food waste is to tackle the problem before it occurs and actually reduce food waste at source. There are many resources online that can help you and your family reduce the amount of food and drink you throw away each year, but this website by Friends Of The Earth has some good tips.
The second line of defence in disposing of food and drink waste is your local council, via household bin collections. Many local councils are now actively working to reduce the amount of food waste that is sent to landfill and, as such, have introduced separate bins for food waste. Contact your local council if you are unsure of their policy or use the Recycle Now website to find out about the food recycling facilities in your area. .
The third, and perhaps most environmentally friendly method, is to compost and recycle the majority of food waste yourself at home. Again, there are many resources available online to help you with this, but this infographic and blog post are particularly helpful.
However, as already mentioned, if you are a commercial food producer, a food retailer, or simply have a large proportion of food waste to get rid of, then hiring a skip to dispose of your food waste might actually be the most cost-effective and environmentally sound option available to you. Just be careful of who you hire your skip from, as not all skip hire companies are as ethical or responsible as The Waste Group, and the last thing you want is your food waste ending up in landfill.
Get In Touch
If you’d like to find out more about how The Waste Group disposes of food waste and other rubbish, then please do get in touch with us. You can call us and speak to one of our friendly team on 0800 652 0160.
Alternatively, if you have got a project planned and need to hire a skip, then get in touch. We’ve got skips of all sizes for all purposes and will be only too happy to advise you on what you can and can’t put in a skip.