NE Leftovers is our pilot project which helps small food businesses take control of their food waste. Large businesses enjoy a 14:1 return rate on investments in food waste prevention. NE Leftovers is designed to help small businesses achieve the same benefits, who would normally find the the initial investment prohibitive. The package is designed to be implemented by the businesses themselves as much as possible, with support from Bind to ensure it has maximum effectiveness.
The first step is to engage the whole team and identify members of staff to champion the project. We do this with a short, interactive introduction session which raises awareness on food waste and excites the team about the project. It’s vital that the business acts together (including the customers!) to tackle the problem, and that no one feels like they are being accused.
We then provide businesses with the resources and skills to measure their current food waste levels within the different departments of the business. This is an important step in the process, not only to gather a baseline figure, but also by becoming aware of which foods are most wasted and how much, the team instantly start to think of solutions.
We bring the team together again to develop an action plan. We can offer ideas from our experience of reducing food waste in different settings, but usually the team are very forthcoming with their own ideas too. We look at which interventions are best to be actioned first - some will be ‘quick wins’ whilst others fit into a more long-term plan. We always emphasise following the food waste hierarchy - prioritising prevention over redistribution and composting/recovery. Example interventions include:
Takeaway box scheme - reduces stigma around ‘doggy bags’ and prevents plate waste
Reviewing portion sizes/side dishes
Re-use of trimmings
We follow the interventions by one or several audits, to identify how successful they have been and what changes can be implemented going forward to continue to improve the business’ waste levels and encourage the staff and customers to make changes at home too.