Managing food waste in the workplace

Many of us have practices in place to prevent food waste at home, but next we should put our focus on the place where we spend most of our waking hours, the office.

Have you ever gone out to eat lunch with your colleagues and completely forgotten the leftovers from yesterday’s dinner in the office fridge? Or ate a banana at your desk without having any place to put the peels, so you threw them in the mixed waste? These seemingly small actions start to matter over time, as we spend on an average 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime.

Tackling a big problem with small actions

Food waste is related to some of the biggest challenges facing our world today, including climate crisis, hunger, and sustainable agriculture. And yet, we have the most mundane means to tackle it in our daily lives. Of course, waste occurs throughout the food chain, and there is a lot to be done in the primary production and food industry. But several studies show that the biggest amount of waste occurs at the end of the food chain.

Companies and other organizations are in a prime position to change workplace practices to prevent food waste. Here are five tips we believe in:

  • 1. Education is key: Recognize a person who is passionate about the topic and organize a food waste week together with them to raise awareness. Share information and offer concrete advice. Keep the produced materials available in the cafeteria or lunchroom after the theme week.
  • 2. Collaborate with the cafeteria: Make sure the cafeteria is tracking the rate of food waste and has enough information for serving the right amount of food. E.g., if many employees work remotely on Fridays, the kitchen could prepare less food in order to not have a surplus right before the weekend.
  • 3. Create good habits: Provide reusable food containers with your logo for employees to bring home their leftover lunch or vice versa. Encourage employees to share their food if it’s fine with your company culture. Clean refrigerators regularly so everyone can take home their opened jars.
  • 4. Plan the parties well: Include the goal to reduce food waste while planning the menu for any event. Suggest registering and collecting data on how much food was provided vs. wasted, what was the most popular menu at a certain time of the day, etc. Also, consider food donation options after the event.
  • 5. Make bio waste bins easily accessible: Ensure that food scraps that are inevitably disposed of are separately collected and thus utilized as a valuable resource. Keep the bin clean and odor-free by lining it with a compostable Bioska biobag, keeping a lid on, and taking it out at the end of the day.

We have worked closely with biowaste, including food waste, since 1997. We encourage companies and other organizations to recognize their role in reducing food waste and sorting biowaste properly. If you need compostable solutions for collecting biowaste, please contact our people at Bioska.

Bioska – For sustainable daily life