Hospitality businesses join forces to tackle food waste

INFORMATIVE: Sarah Chen from the EPA discussing the issue of food waste. Photo: Supplied
INFORMATIVE: Sarah Chen from the EPA discussing the issue of food waste. Photo: Supplied

On Tuesday afternoon, Regional Development Australia Southern Inland (RDASI) launched their Your Business is Food Program in the Southern Highlands.

Hospitality businesses from across the Highlands, including Mittagong, Bowral, Berrima and Exeter, attended the session.

RDASI are partnering with the Southern Region Business Enterprise Centre (SRBEC) to deliver the Your Business is Food Program.

Funded by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Your Business is Food will educate and assist cafes, restaurants and pubs across seven local government areas in the Southern Inland Region to prevent and avoid food waste.

Tuesday afternoon was an opportunity for RDASI to provide more information to local hospitality businesses about the Program and to further discuss the issue of local food waste in the Southern Highlands.

Sarah Chen, from the EPA, attended the session and was on hand to answer some curly questions from the businesses, including queries as to the definition of ‘food waste’, i.e. is it considered food waste if it goes to chickens or is recycled?

Sarah explained that from a business perspective, any food that is purchased or grown for human consumption that is discarded, is considered food waste.

RDASI project officer Camilla Staff provided an overview of the Your Business is Food Program and what it will entail for those businesses who sign up.

Ultimately, it is a three-step process:

1. Do a food waste audit

2. Develop an action plan

3. Celebrate a reduction in food waste

Exeter General Store owner Craig Johnson then spoke to the group about his approach to food waste which he divides into two themes; systems and people.

Some of the strategies he implements include constant reviewing of stock, glass door fridges, regular temperature checks on fridges and a wastage register.

He also outlined his plan to start introducing a ‘build your own menu’ for those pickier eaters, so they can choose their own base product and add options to build their meal.

“Almost all of the businesses who attended the session told me that reducing food waste was a big item on their agenda and something they had been thinking about for a long time.

The Your Business is Food Program provides businesses with the means to now do something about it,” Ms Staff said.

The Your Business is Food Program supports businesses to sign a pledge to reduce their food waste by 20 per cent.

All businesses will work with an advisor to conduct a food waste review where they measure and track where their food waste is coming from.

The advisor then develops a personalised plan with actions the business can take to avoid food waste.

All participating business receive a free kit with posters, an information booklet, and takeaway container stickers.

To take part in the ‘Your Business is Food’ program, visit www.rdasi.org.au/projects/yourbusinessisfood or call Camilla Staff on 4822 6397.

The Love Food Hate Waste grants have been awarded under the NSW EPA’s Organics Infrastructure Fund which forms part of the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

RDASI’s Your Business is Food project has been supported with a $58,863 grant from the NSW EPA’s Waste Less Recycle More Love Food Hate Waste program, funded from the waste levy.

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