Unsold sandwiches from a bakery, uneaten food from cafes and damaged fruit and vegetables from supermarkets, these are just some of the things that end up as food waste from shopping centres up and down the country.
But waste food from shops in Swindon’s Brunel Shopping Centre now no longer ends up in landfill, thanks to the installation of new recycling equipment.
Earlier this year the shopping centre installed a Waste 2-0 food waste digester, a machine that uses natural micro-organisms to digest the waste and turn it into water. Not only does this mean that around 60 tonnes of food waste is diverted from landfill every year, it also means that the centre has reduced its waste processing costs by around £10,000 per year.
This is good news for the centre’s retailers as savings of this kind help keep the charges passed onto retailers, in the form of service charges, as low as possible.
Steve Fawke, General Manager at The Brunel said: “The food waste digester is working really well. Understandably people don’t stop to think that shopping centres produce food waste, but it’s an inevitable part of life.
"For safety reasons fresh food can only be on the shelves for restricted time periods so inevitably there is always waste, no matter how well stores manage their stocks.
"This new machine means that we can process the waste on site and so save on C02 emissions by not having to transport waste to landfill, and we avoid landfill taxes too. Amazingly the machine turns the food into water so we also add around 46,000 litres of water back to the water table every year.”
Matthew Burn runs Boswells Cafés, which has a branch in The Brunel Centre, and commented: “We do try and minimize our food waste by making sure that we produce food that our customers like and want, but it’s inevitable that cafes and restaurants do have waste food to deal with.
"We’re really pleased that The Brunel has invested in this equipment so can now dispose of our food waste in such an environmentally friendly way.”
For more information about The Brunel visit www.thebrunel.co.uk.