JD Wetherspoon champions ‘green energy’ with food waste blitz across its pubs

More than 11,500 tonnes of annual food waste from JD Wetherspoon’s kitchens and pubs will avoid landfill in future after the pub chain inked a deal to outsource its management to a third party. 

The company has appointed resource management firm Veolia to improve its recycling and divert all of its waste from landfill. Following successful mobilisation, the food waste stream will now be used to produce green energy, while increasing recycling rates and reducing general waste using advanced technology.

To ensure everything from potato peelings and coffee grounds is handled sustainably, Veolia will implement a recycling scheme that will result in approximately 11,500 tonnes of food waste avoiding landfill and help Wetherspoon reach its 100% diversion target.

It will also provide 3,450MWh of renewable energy each year – enough to keep 1,641 beer fridges cool or power 35,937 lights running for 24 hours a day all year round, according to the firm.

Veolia’s contract covers the entire Wetherspoon estate consisting of 900 pubs, hotels and bars. Services will include food waste and glass recycling as well as general waste.

Wetherspoon will have the option to utilise Veolia’s data insight to drive resource efficiencies, including individual recycling and waste collection data, for site specific recycling and diversion performance monitoring, on-board computers and handheld devices that deliver ad-hoc collection tasks to teams in the local area, and route optimisation tools to ensure the associated carbon footprint of vehicles is constantly monitored and improved.

Wetherspoon’s contractor performance manager, David Willis, said the deal proves that the chain is committed to leading the hospitality industry into a sustainable future.

“In line with our work with the Sustainable Restaurants’ Association, we take very seriously our commitment to minimise waste and opting for recycling wherever possible. We are pleased to highlight our commitment to a genuinely sustainable future by entering into partnership with Veolia UK for the management of our general waste, food waste and glass recycling.”

Mr Willis said Wetherspoon was “well on the way” to achieving its target of zero waste to landfill by the end of 2018.

“Currently 10% of the UK’s waste is exported to the EU and to Asia for processing, further adding to the carbon footprint of the producer. All Wetherspoon waste that is managed by Veolia will be managed within the UK, further reducing the carbon impact of our pubs and hotels,” he said. “In addition we are also continuing to innovate in partnership with Veolia UK to enable wider use of our recyclable products, increasing the amount of sundry items that are manufactured from recycled products such as drinks trays or garden furniture.”

The latest WRAP figures reveal the UK wastes 10 million tonnes of food annually, with approximately 17% of this produced by the hospitality and foodservice industry.

Unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland – where there are regulations that require food waste to be collected separately for anaerobic digestion – most of England’s food waste is still sent to landfill.

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