Since the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) launched its Bin Trim Program in 2014, 1,657 restaurant and catering businesses across the state have started benefiting from the free waste management scheme. The program helps businesses that employ between one and 199 employees to identify simple actions to reduce their waste and boost profits. Eligible businesses can access a free waste assessment as well as a financial rebate of between $1,000 to $50,000 to help with the cost of purchasing recycling equipment.
The Bin Trim program has found that typically 62 per cent of waste (by weight) from cafes and restaurants is food waste. Food waste in landfill is a problem because it breaks down to form methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Participating businesses have used Bin Trim rebates to minimise this impact by purchasing a worm farm, composter or equipment to process and prepare food scraps for conversion to fertilizer or electricity after collection.
Restaurants generally have a lot of packaging waste as well, which includes cardboard, steel and aluminium cans, and plastic. Bin Trim Assessors can work with your business to organise a comingled (mixed recycling) collection and bin signage so that recyclables are sorted to the correct bins.
Restaurants and bars also have significant amounts of glass for disposal. Bin Trim rebates have been used to fund glass crushers, reducing storage space until it is collected for recycling and saving a business thousands.
Reducing waste can help businesses reduce costs, save time, build staff morale and enhance corporate reputation. Recycling services can also be cheaper or cost neutral compared to waste services, particularly if on-site recycling equipment is used to prepare or process the material for easy collection. In addition, the Bin Trim program can provide advice on reducing food waste in the first place.
In NSW, businesses contribute 1.8 million tonnes of waste to landfill each year but 70 per cent of that could actually be reused or recycled. The Bin Trim program helps businesses identify opportunities to make simple changes to reduce waste.
To contact a Bin Trim Assessor for a free waste assessment or to discuss whether your restaurant is eligible for a rebate to help with the cost of recycling equipment, go to the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s website.