Welcome back to our series of articles looking at sustainability in the property management industry. So far we’ve discussed outdoor spaces, urban mobility and EV charging points. This time we’re biting into the core of food waste and how property management companies might try to influence this across their portfolio.
According to WRAP, as individuals, we waste 4.5 million tonnes of food every year from our households. This is a shocking number – and not just from an environmental perspective. But also from the perspective of the amount of money that’s wasted – Friends of the Earth report that a household will waste £470 on average in food that is binned. When we consider that 8.4 million people in the UK alone are struggling to eat, this makes food waste all the more problematic.
But how could the property management industry help to reduce food waste? And, more importantly, why would the industry bother?
Whilst composting isn’t going to prevent food waste, it’s certainly a better option than going to landfill. Property management companies are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of bin areas. Aside from the hygiene and pest control issues, having a clean, tidy, organised bin area is a must for residents to feel like they live in a nice environment – for physical and mental health.
How can compost bins help?
A bin area that’s segregated ensures waste collection services actually remove the waste, rather than leaving it as it has been contaminated. With so many people using the same areas, managing this is difficult but not impossible.
With so much food being wasted and put into landfill bins, the chances of food spilling out of overflowing landfill bins is high. Encouraging residents to use compost bins for food waste will keep food to one place, decreasing the chances of food spilling out of overflowing landfill bins. Food will also start to decompose whilst in the compost bin, reducing in size, which means that compost bins will naturally allow for more to be stored until they are collected.
With more and more pressure being put on Local Authorities to meet waste targets, and reduce the amount of food waste being sent to landfill, many areas have already started to reduce the number of landfill bin collections to encourage the use of recycling and compost bins.
Less money wasted
All of this waste comes at a cost to the individual. The food has to be purchased in order to be wasted, so reducing the amount of food in the trolley could go some way to helping the bank balance. It could be as much as a £40-50 saving per month.
The hidden cost to communities is the cost to landfill food v the cost to compost food. In 2021, the standard rate for landfill is £96.70 per tonne. To compost this cost reduces to £30/40 per tonne. We can see there is a huge financial incentive in reducing food waste going into the landfill bin.
Future proofing property management
Food waste is a huge issue for many reasons. Local Authorities are already being targeted by the Government to curb the amount of food waste that’s being landfilled. As an industry which is in direct contact with residents, the sector is ideally positioned to help reach these targets. Through education and clear messaging, property managers could influence and help divert food waste from landfill.
This could be viewed as future proofing waste collection as time goes on, these targets will become more and more important to achieve. Whether it’s a focused commitment to a campaign, or inclusion on existing communications, there is a place for the industry to be involved in this important aspect of sustainable actions.
If you are a property management company who would like to have more control over repairs and maintenance, please get in touch with the Blockworx team.