Food wastage (2016)
By month for 2016 could I ask what the monthly total was by tons of food waste across the estate ?
Please be aware that the House of Commons and the House of Lords are separate public authorities for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). On this occasion, where stated, some information covers the parliamentary estate and so is bicameral therefore you may wish to consider forwarding your request to the House of Lords for any costs they may hold.
Information about the amount of specific food waste is not held by the House of Commons, but figures for total organic waste, which includes food waste as well as other items such as paper napkins, used coffee and tea, are available. This waste is sent for anaerobic digestion and is used to produce biogas which is then used as a source of renewable energy. Details of the weight of this organic waste sent for anaerobic digestion from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016 for the entire parliamentary estate is included in the table.
It may be helpful to know that the House of Commons Catering Service produces on average less than 3% food waste. This is measured as the cost of prepared food wasted against the amount of food sales. This is below the national average for the catering industry of 5%. All catering food waste which is segregated within the kitchens and food preparation areas is either recovered or recycled and is not sent to landfill.
The Sustainable Restaurant Association has rated the House of Commons as a good practice organisation in respect of food waste. We take various measures to monitor and reduce the amount of food waste from catering outlets. There are a number of ways that we are able to help minimise our food wastage:
- We have menu plans and cycles which enable orders to be thought out in advance.
- We make the vast majority of dishes fresh in-house. This enables us to improvise if products need to be used up and we can use short life products in smoothies, soups and salads etc.
- Stock is regularly counted and order volumes are considerate of stock-in-hand.
- Dates are checked regularly on ambient food products and any short life products are issued to the kitchens and used up.
- For many of the high volume protein items, these are ordered by unit rather than weight which makes portion control more accurate and less prone to over ordering.
- Venue orders are checked by a purchasing team for accuracy to ensure that orders and volumes are accurate and in line with historic figures.
- Our kitchens make salad items in-house meaning they are able to cook off and utilise any surplus protein products effectively.
- Stock is always rotated using first in first out principles.
- We utilise various smart storage methods and materials to help prevent premature spoilage.
- Some products are frozen if not used on the day.
- Products which show high levels of wastage are changed, so for example some high frequency/low volume lines are now frozen which enables portion control.
- Any hot food that we have which is reusable is both transferred immediately where it can be used or blast chilled within food safety requirements and used the following day.
In addition our unsold sandwiches are bagged-up and returned to the supplier on a daily basis once they have reached their use-by dates. We receive a 50% rebate on all unsold premium sandwiches and none of the waste goes to landfill. This has been in force since January 2013 and sandwich wastage is at just 2.5% which is below industry standards.