Food Waste

By signing up to the Food Waste Pyramid, food businesses can highlight positive initiatives to reduce food waste and promote practical solutions that save resources by avoiding unwanted surpluses, diverting surplus food to charities or livestock feed and avoiding landfill. The Food Waste Pyramid also shows the simple steps that businesses can take to tackle food waste, in order of priority.

Move your mouse over the pyramid on the right to learn more.


Useful contacts

  • The Insitute of Grocery Distribution (IGD)

    Technical advice, best practice and tools for food and grocery industry supply chain waste management

  • LRS Consultancy

    Provides strategic and practical support to organisations to assist with food waste reduction

  • Sustainable Restaurant Association

    Supporting sustainable restaurants reduce food waste through the Too Good To Waste campaign

  • Unilever Food Solutions

    Supporting businesses reduce food waste with its Waste Reducing Toolkit

  • WRAP

    Provides free, independent support to organisations on food waste reduction and recycling

  • Courtauld commitment

    Voluntary agreement administered by WRAP aimed at reducing food waste in the groceries retail sector

Feed people in need

Useful contacts

  • Esther Community Enterprise

    Giving purpose to surplus through food redistribution

  • Fareshare

    Redistributing surplus food of all types to charities nationwide

  • Foodcycle

    Redistributing food to people in need in local communities

  • Company Shop Ltd

    Commercial organisation offering surplus food at reduced prices through a chain of staff shops

  • Plan Z Heroes

    Map connecting businesses which have surplus food with nearby charities that need it

  • People's Kitchen

    Redistributing surplus food to feed the homeless & vulnerable

  • Real Aid

    Redistribution nationwide of ambient food products close to best before date

  • The Trussell Trust (The Foodbank Network)

    Network and map of local community foodbanks redistributing surplus or donated food

Feed livestock

Useful contacts

  • AB nutrition

    Producer and supplier of food waste animal feeds & pet food

  • SugaRich

    Food animal feed supplier and producer

  • UK Farm Feeds Ltd

    Collection of food waste from supermarkets for animal feed - Yorkshire area, able to advise in London

Composting &
100% renewable energy

Useful contacts

  • Biffa

    Collection and recycling of food waste. Provides bins & free waste audit

  • Biocollectors

    Collection and recycling of food waste for agricultural fertilizer

  • BiogenGreenFinch

    Anaerobic digestion plant. Collection by Cawleys

  • Bywaters

    Collection and recycling of food waste By-cycler scheme. Free waste audit

  • Cawleys

    Collection and recycling of food waste Eco-eating scheme. Free waste audit & recycling performance reports

  • Centrol Recylcing Group Ltd

    Collection and recycling of food waste

  • Countrystyle Group

    Collection & recycling of food waste. Bins provided

  • First Mile

    First Mile are a recycling company offering a WRAP-funded food recycling service to businesses.

  • Greenzone Facilities Management Ltd

    Collection & recycling of food waste

  • London Waste Ltd

    Collection and recycling of food waste

  • Loop

    Collection and recycling of food waste, plus onsite recycling

  • Paper Round

    Collection and recycling of food waste. Free waste audit

  • Prosper De Mulder Ltd (PDM Group)

    Collection and food waste recycling

  • QBS

    Collection and recycling of food waste & alcoholic beverages for bio-fuel

  • Reconomy

    Food waste segregation & recycling

  • Ridan

    Composting machinery supply

  • SAICA Natur UK

    Collection of food waste and recycling

  • Shanks Group

    Food waste recycling and waste auditing. Analytical services. Consultancy. On-site monitoring

  • Simply Waste Solutions

    Collection and recycling of food waste. Bins provided

  • SITA

    Collection and composting of food waste

  • The All Clear Company

    Collection and composting of food waste

  • The Association for Organics Recycling (AfOR)

    Provides a technical enquiry service for its members from the biodegradable resource management industry

  • Tidy Planet

    Sell food waste solutions machinery

  • UK Green Services

    Collection and composting of food waste

  • Veolia Environmental Services

    Collection and recycling of food waste. Free waste audit

  • Vertal

    Collection and composting of food waste

  • Viridor

    Collection and composting of food waste

  • Waste Recycling Group

    Food waste collection & recycling. Bins provided

  • West London Composting

    Composting site / sales


Food waste sent to landfill rots, releasing methane which is 21 times worse for global warming than carbon dioxide. Under the EU landfill directive, Britain is obliged to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill to 50% of 1995 levels by 2013. That’s why landfill should be avoided if there are other options available.


Avoid generating food waste in the first place: plan orders to avoid overproduction; maximise shelf-life through better storage; identify alternative markets to keep food in the human food chain

Feed people in need

Direct quality surplus food to charities and organisations that redistribute food

Feed livestock

Direct food unfit for human consumption to livestock feed: wherever possible, divert legally permissible bakery, fruit, vegetables and dairy products to farm animals

Compost & 100%
renewable energy

Send unavoidable food waste for composting, or to produce fertiliser and 100% renewable fuel for electricity and heat, or transport


Avoid landfill wherever environmentally friendly alternatives are available
Food Waste Pyramid for London designed by Tristram Stuart in collaboration with the Feeding the 5000 steering group: the Mayor's Waste Strategy team, the London Food Board, Recycle for London, Friends of the Earth, WRAP, FareShare & FoodCycle

Sign the Feeding 5k Pledge

We agree with the principles of the food waste pyramid and will implement it where practicable

Doing a waste audit was an eye-opener. We're now even more efficient in the kitchen and saving a lot on waste collections too.
Robert McLeary
Head chef

The Modern Pantry

You can't manage what you can't measure.

The Modern Pantry Cafe and Deli, a two-floor modern restaurant in St John's Square, Clerkenwell, took part in the Sustainable Restaurant Association's (SRA) food waste survey in 2010. Head chef Robert McLeary says that doing a food waste audit really helped them understand the composition of their food waste and where it came from, whether that was food preparation, food spoilage or portion sizes. This meant that the kitchen staff were able to take some simple but effective steps to reduce waste at source:

  • Filling portions are part of the restaurant's philosophy but the waste audit inspired the chef team to work on a smaller portion size that minimised food waste on plates while still keeping the portions generous.
  • A doggy box is also offered as part of the SRA's too good to waste campaign and diners are encouraged by the restaurant staff to take away any leftovers.
  • Food preparation waste is minimised by using fresh, high-quality meat and vegetable off cuts creatively to make burgers, pies and soups. Excess food is also used for staff meals.
  • High quality meat or vegetable off-cuts are also used to make salads, fish-pies and sandwiches sold at the restaurant's store. By doing this, ingredients that cannot go into its a la carte menu are used to generate extra income for the restaurant.
  • A dehumidifier filter was installed in the restaurant's fridges which absorbs any moisture and helps keep food fresh for much longer, keeping food waste costs due to spoilage to minimum
  • Any remaining food waste like vegetable peelings is separated from general waste and collected for composting by Islington Council

These simple solutions brought immediate savings from reduced food purchasing costs. Reducing food waste of course meant lower waste collection costs for the Modern Pantry, which also meant that they were able to renegotiate a better contract with their waste collector. Overall, that saved the restaurant £2500 on annual waste collection fees.

For more info on reducing food waste in restaurants see

Making the most of the food we buy makes perfect sense and helps us keep costs down. And our customers are happy to know they can take home any leftovers with the SRA's doggy box.
Nitin Padwal
Head chef

Petrichor at the Cavendish

For Nitin Padwal, Head Chef at the Petrichor restaurant in London's Cavendish hotel in Mayfair, any amount of food being thrown away, large or small, means a cost to the business.

Careful ordering and making the most of purchased food helps Petrichor restaurant save about 2% of its annual food buying costs, which can amount to savings of several thousands pounds per year.

  • The hotel's staff canteen, feeding more than 100 people every day, uses up any untouched food from the restaurant's breakfast buffet: sliced tomatoes are turned into high quality tomato sauce, scrambled eggs are used for egg fried rice, high quality leftover bacon goes into a carbonara sauce and mushrooms are used to make delicious stew
  • No bones or vegetable stalks from food prep are thrown away but are instead used to make meat and vegetable stock
  • Orange peelings from the breakfast's orange juice are used to make homemade marmalade.
  • Cuts from the high quality Irish beef that the restaurant buys for its main courses are used to make fresh minced meat in house. According to the chef, this is better than any minced meat found in the market, which means that high quality burgers are made in house at no extra cost
  • Petrichor is part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association's doggy box campaign, encouraging customers to take home any leftovers. Nitin says the scheme has been popular during afternoon tea and dinner with customers happily packing up unfinished portions for tomorrow's lunch
  • Any remaining food waste is separated and collected for off site composting and the restaurant has a policy of sending zero food waste to landfill

For more info on reducing food waste in restaurants see


New Covent Garden Market

The first UK market to install a materials recycling facility and pay as you throw scheme which enabled it to send food not fit for human consumption to livestock feed and achieve zero waste to landfill.

The UK's largest fresh produce market, New Covent Garden Market situated in Vauxhall, has completely revised its waste system. A pay as you throw scheme has now been permanently launched following a trial in 2009, which allows for the food waste to be separated and sent away to be used as livestock feed or compost.

Its resident food traders now have their own bins for organic, recyclable and general waste fitted with microchips. The bin is collected and weighed up and a ticket is printed out and stuck on the side of the bin detailing the weight and type of waste.

Before the new system was installed, tenants paid a standard rate for waste collection according to the let area of their unit. Under the new system, tenants are now charged for organic waste around half the rate of what general waste collection costs them. This brings significant savings to businesses and acts as a financial incentive for them to separate their food waste from other materials.

Instead of sending around 1000 tonnes of waste to landfill each month, the market has now achieved its target of zero waste to landfill. A real benefit is that being charged for what you waste has altered behaviour and traders have adopted practices to minimise waste at source and so reduce volumes. It has enabled them to quantify the consequences of their actions in financial terms.

Food that businesses cannot sell and is unfit for human consumption, such as vegetable peelings and out of date fruit and veg, is sent to a pig farmer in Oxfordshire for livestock feed. This provides a much cheaper alternative to imported grain feed for the farmer as well as a varied diet for the pigs. It also gives the farmer a competitive edge, as he now has a delicious meat product with better environmental credentials.

Wasting food when people down the road are going hungry is just madness. Eliminating unnecessary food waste from retail doesn't have to be a long term target - we can do it right here, right now.
Andrew Thornton
owner of Thornton's Budgens

Thornton's Budgens

Thornton's Budgens is an independently owned retail store in Crouch End that has taken measures to reduce its food waste across the board.

The store has already achieved its targets of sending zero food waste to landfill. Store owner Andrew Thornton's ambition is that, by the end of this year, no edible food that enters their store ends up not being eaten.

  • Since October 2011, the supermarket has an in-store hot food counter. Bob, the in-house chef, uses veg and other fresh ingredients from the store's shelves such as parsnips, peppers, aubergines and pulses that are approaching their sell by date or are unnlikely to be sold. He prepares delicious, fresh and nutritious meals like tagines, soups, curries and pickles. This way, the store has found a new market outlet for surplus food products. Bob's curries are very popular with customers, which means that this is an extra source of revenue for the store with very low costs.
  • Edible food surplus from the store that cannot be sold is donated to FoodCycle, a charity that runs the nearby Station Community cafe in Haringay. FoodCycle pick up the surplus food from Thornton's Budgens Crouch End on a weekly basis and use it to create nutritious meals for local communities. Their Haringay cafe operates on a 'pay what you can' scheme so everyone can enjoy a filling three-course meal.
  • The store also hosts Food from the Sky on its rooftop - a community project growing organic fruit and vegetables that are then sold in store. Non-edible food waste from the store is used to make compost for the garden, creating a closed loop system and providing hyper local food products, travelling only 10 metres from soil to shelf.
Our weather blemished apples were a great success, proving that British customers know that fruit and veg doesn't need to be perfect-looking to be delicious. Beauty is only skin deep.
Quentin Clark
Head of Ethical Sourcing and Sustainability, Waitrose


'Ugly' apples prove that beauty is only skin deep

From time-to-time, the weather in the UK damages farmers' produce, making it difficult for them to market. Last May, severe frosts wreaked havoc on crops in southern England, causing cosmetic damage to Cox, Braeburn, Gala, Jazz and Red Dessert apples. The apples had blemished skin but, despite their imperfect appearance, they still tasted great. Waitrose stocked bags of this so-called 'ugly fruit' in its stores during the autumn. The benefit to customers was that they could buy excellent value apples that cost less that 29p each but still tasted as good as unblemished fruit. Marketing this fruit also meant supporting the British orchards that suffered during the harsh May frosts.

This Christmas, some Waitrose shops joined forces with charity Esther Community Enterprise (ECE), to donate surplus food to the homeless and other vulnerable people. The company has since taken the decision to work with ECE more widely, by donating surplus food from its shops around the country. Waitrose also worked with its supplier, Dovecote Park, to provide surplus chicken and beef to charity Crisis, which helped feed thousands of homeless people in London.