This article has been submitted by leading food and travel journalist, Angela Youngman.
A £6.5m fund to help small businesses within the hospitality, tourism and food service sectors to enter the circular economy. The Circular Economy Capital Investment Fund will help businesses to increase the amount of recycling that they undertake, as well as improving the use of recycled products in the creation of new products.
The new initiative will help Wales reach its targets of 70% recycling by 2025, and 100% recycling by 2050 as indicated in its Towards Zero Waste strategy document. Wales is already one of the top recycling areas within the UK, reaching 60% of waste.
It is estimated that the adoption of a fully circular economy could save the Welsh economy up to £2bn and potentially create a further 30,000 jobs.
Lesley Griffiths, Wales Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary, says:
“The £6.5m fund underlines our commitment to moving towards a circular economy. This will help businesses save money by becoming more resource efficient and resilient, an approach that will deliver numerous environmental benefits including less waste and reduced CO2 emissions.”
Waste has become a major issue within all sectors of business, but particularly within the food and hospitality sectors. The amount of food that is thrown away during the growing, production and dining is considerable. Recycle for Wales say that around 400,000 tonnes of food is wasted every year by households; this figure is much higher when you take into account the crops rejected by supermarkets, thrown out as being past the ‘best by’ date, uneaten meals, and waste created during meal preparation, photo shoots and during the production process.
Charities are increasingly arranging to collect edible food waste, distributing to various worthy causes or selling it at low prices. Yet more waste is sent for incineration to create renewable energy. Repurposing is increasingly common whereby companies take rejected food and turn it into a new product such as wonky fruit and veg into juices.