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Our zero tolerance policy to food waste!

Sam Richards is the managing director and owner of Sealyham Activity Centre in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The Outdoor Pursuits Centre provides accommodation for up to 200 guests to stay on site and also provides three meals each day for them. Despite this, Sam says they have relatively little food waste. Here he explains to me how they do it.

How much food waste do you have?

We don’t believe in food waste and so the premise of the company is that we try not to waste food. Obviously there will be some waste but I believe it is a relatively small amount, considering that we cook around 400 meals a day; breakfast and dinner for our guests.

How do you prevent food waste in a company and kitchen of this size?

We only have food coming in on a two day basis, so we try to use it up before the next lot comes in. We also plan our menus in advance and ask our customers to order beforehand. When we have good food left over we give it to the staff to take it home and use, as long as it is OK to eat. Also, if we have things left over like roast chicken or sausages we put it in the fridge and it is used as lunches the next day for the staff.

Do you think that it is OK for staff and people to eat this left over food?

Yes definitely. We always stick within the health and safety requirements but the leftover food that we give to staff has nothing wrong with it at all it is just sir-plus. To throw it away when hungry staff would like it doesn’t make sense. It’s not good for business, morale or for food waste. We obviously do not force anyone to eat it. Too many companies throw away good food.

What do you think can be done to prevent other companies throwing away large amounts of food?

Every company has its own system but people at management should care about food waste. Good food can be re-used if it is kept properly. If people are careful in working out what they need and not ordering over that it’s good. Also I think it is a good idea to give good food that would otherwise be wasted away to staff. Some supermarkets give leftover food away, I think that’s a good thing.

Why is limiting food waste important to you?

We can’t afford to waste food and we don’t want to. Our policy is that we put in that extra bit of organisation and innovation to make sure that as little food as possible is wasted.

Do you follow this policy through at home?

Yes at home we have separate recycling bins for all our rubbish. We compost a lot of food and that helps to recycle food waste. My wife was brought up during world war two and so she’s been taught not to waste food. If food has gone past its sell by date but it’s still good, we will use it rather than throw it away.

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