Sustainability: Waste not, want not

Anne Kaarlela, Insinkerator marketing communications and customer service manager, Europe and Russia, explains how retailers can play an active role in educating consumers about the environmental issues around food waste.

The UK churns out 15 million tonnes of food waste a year, with seven million tonnes generated by households1, resulting in a huge strain on landfill sites. It’s estimated that an average family of four is wasting approximately £700 worth of food ever year1. 74% of households admitted to throwing food away due to the lack of a proper shopping list, while 24% had forgotten what was in their fridge1. All sources according to InSinkErator.

Furthermore, rotting food waste in landfill emits 21 million tonnes of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere every year, causing further damage to the environment.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent UK lockdowns, consumers’ homes became their safe haven as well as their office, classroom and restaurant. This led to consumers re-evaluating their homes to ensure they meet a wider range of needs, including enhancing the kitchen to support the increase in home cooking and being more hygienic.

What’s more, several food waste collections were postponed throughout the UK at the height of the first lockdown, to reduce the pressure on local council resources. This, coupled with the warmer weather, resulted in unpleasant food waste smells that can attract unwanted insects and pests.

As a result, we [Insinkerator] witnessed a spike in sales of our food waste disposers. With the increased demand for hygiene in the kitchen, we predict this trend will continue as we navigate the ‘new normal’.

Advice for retailers

Sustainability continues to be an important factor when consumers are considering what products to invest in for their homes. Environmental issues, such as food waste, are increasingly featured in the media to encourage consumers to make positive lifestyle changes that benefit the world we live in. We expect this important issue to continue to have an effect on the kitchen industry in the future with manufacturers striving to offer products to consumers that can help reduce their carbon footprint.   

Food waste disposers provide a great opportunity to independent kitchen specialists and are an easy add-on to any sink, furniture or kitchen sale, generating valuable additional turnover. One of the most common mistakes when specifying a food waste disposer is not specifying one at all; not encouraging or promoting sales is both an opportunity and margin missed.

With the government announcement on 7th May 2021 that from 2023, every UK household will receive separate weekly food waste collections, retailers will need to consider food waste options when designing kitchens for their customers. For disposing of food waste safely and hygienically, why not specify a food waste disposer rather than a food waste caddy? It fits under the sink, out of sight, saving the need to specify, as well as the space for, multiple bins and separate food waste compartments.

Not only does this offer an alternative to traditional disposal methods, but by reducing food waste to landfill sites, it also helps to reduce greenhouse gases and the household’s carbon footprint.

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