Decision to go green sees Cucina halve its waste bill

FOOD waste is an unappetising fact of modern life.

One Yorkshire business is doing its bit to ensure that surplus food is put to good use. It’s also helping to make the company’s balance sheet look much healthier. A recycling scheme, which includes a system to recycle food waste, has helped to support a Leeds restaurant’s expansion plans.

The family run Cucina café bar and restaurant, which was opened in Morley 13 years ago by Mark Robinson, is investing in a larger kitchen and extended bar area as part of its plans to grow. Mr Robinson said the move was being supported by budget savings, following an overhaul of its waste management policies, cutting disposal costs by 50 per cent.

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“We didn’t have any recycling facilities at all before – food waste went the same way as all the other rubbish,” he said.

“We now have recycling facilities for glass and other waste products as well as food.”

As a result of going green, Mr Robinson said Cucina’s annual waste disposal bill has plummeted to £3,500, about half what he used to pay.

“Sending food waste to landfill wasn’t just bad for the environment, it was impacting on our bottom line. Waste is paid for by weight and because food waste is heavy it can become very expensive.”

Cucina worked with waste management consultancy Orchard Environmental, based in Elland, West Yorkshire, to introduce a recycling strategy with a view to reducing landfill costs.

Justin Holley, the operations director at Orchard Environmental, said: “Food waste is well recognised as an environmental problem, but with hotels and restaurants in the UK disposing of over 900,000 tonnes of food waste every year it’s also a missed opportunity to reduce overheads.

“We work extensively with the hospitality sector and our initial audits generally identify multiple waste streams that are suitable for recycling.

“Introducing efficient systems for collection and removal helps these businesses to cut landfill costs – and in some cases generate additional income – without affecting cleanliness and public health.”