CESA guide: Cash for trash

15 November 2019 by
CESA guide: Cash for trash

Almost everything that is thrown away in a kitchen can be used again in some form – such as old cooking oil as fuel – so it pays to be up to date with the latest regulations

Even before the media got serious about the climate crisis, attitudes to waste in foodservice were changing. Just about everything that used to be considered waste is now regarded as a potential resource – and in some cases, a money earner. From using old cooking oil to run delivery vans to turning waste into compost or energy – where there's muck, there's brass.

There are plenty of examples of foodservice businesses that have saved money through waste management. For example, the FoodSave project, which ran in association with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, has several case studies at www.foodsave.org, such as Moshi Moshi in Liverpool Street station, which saved 1.2 tonnes of food waste – or £14,837 a year – as a result of better waste management, mainly by targeting plate waste and ‘prepared not served' waste.

WRAP's Target – Measure – Act programme, which CESA supports, offers a roadmap to reduce waste and highlights the importance of carefully monitoring food waste and setting achievable reduction targets. It's available to download from www.wrap.org.uk. But however much we reduce food waste, there will still be an excess for disposal. The legislative framework controlling food waste is changing across the UK. Kerbside collection is one solution, but it's not the only one and CESA would argue it's not the greenest.

There are many technologies that deal with the issue in an eco-friendly, low-cost way, such as pump and vacuum systems, food waste disposal systems, dewatering systems, composters and food or bio digesters. For more information on these systems and your legal requirements, download CESA's Guide to Reducing Food Waste in Foodservice at www.cesa.org.uk, which also covers fats, oil and grease and ways to deal with them.

The environment and sustainability have always been big issues for CESA, and its white paper on the circular economy states the foodservice equipment industry's stance on sustainability. As part of the European Federation of Catering Equipment Manufacturers, CESA was involved in the white paper on climate change (a European strategy for energy efficient commercial kitchens), and CESA has also signed up to the Courtauld Commitment 2025 to reduce food waste by 50% by 2025.


  • Grease interceptors need ongoing maintenance to work effectively. This must be done by licensed waste carriers.

  • Don't scrap equipment that you are replacing, as there are opportunities for surplus kit to be reused. It may even be possible to sell it – find a reliable disposal partner.

  • Separate sorting units in canteens for food waste, cutlery, plates and so on can help organise waste and save staff time.

  • Purchase products on the government's approved Water Technology List to help save water and money through tax relief.

  • Products approved by the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme will not cause waste, misuse, undue consumption or contamination to the water supply.

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