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How to: encourage your team to reduce food waste

In Ireland, our Climate Action Plan has set the target of a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030. To reach this target, we need to work together. In your business, you may be facing the challenge of getting your team on board. We’ve compiled some ways that you can encourage your team to reduce food waste from our global experience on the topic.


TALK ABOUT IT - FORMALLY OR INFORMALLY

In a behavioural study, 62% of those surveyed were classified as ‘uncaring’ surrounding food waste, although everyone who took part understood the environmental aspect to some extent. (1)

Influencing your team to care about reducing food waste is a big ask - however, it’s likely that you already have sustainability champions working with you. By opening up the topic to the floor, you are allowing these voices to be heard while encouraging peer-to-peer accountability.

You can find plenty of info on food waste here on our blog, on the EPA website and MyWaste.

The more you talk about the impact that food waste has on the environment, the more the message sinks in. People engage more strongly with positive messaging so talk about how far Ireland has come in reducing food waste or give examples of what other companies are doing successfully.

CREATE WASTE RESCUE MILESTONES

If your team is made up of goals-driven individuals, working towards tangible food waste rescue milestones might be a great way of encouraging waste reduction.

Track the waste that you’re producing weekly, bi-weekly or monthly (not sure how? We outline it in this blog post). Celebrate when you reach those milestones! It could be worthwhile to create a chart visibly showcasing where you are in terms of food waste reduction or to ask for a volunteer to act as an advocate for food waste reduction within your business.


OPTIMISE YOUR SYSTEMS

Making the most of operational procedures can be simpler than it seems. For example, if you are working to reduce food waste by selling your surplus with Too Good To Go, you may allocate one person per shift to spend two minutes getting Surprise Bags ready for collection. 

If you are a sit-in establishment, a ‘doggy bag’ station with to-go boxes and carry bags can make the whole process of giving your customers food to take home so much easier. Very few people naturally thrive on change so choosing low effort, high yield food waste reduction processes may be the best mode for your team.


LET YOUR TEAM HAVE THE IDEAS

By facilitating a food waste brainstorm, your team drives the movement towards reducing food waste in your business.

Set aside some time in a team meeting to come up with recipes to reduce food waste and find out any other ideas your team may have. Some great starting points include: coffee syrups from surplus fruit, caramel or coulis, using bread as part of your dessert menu and donating coffee grounds to those on the team who grow their own produce.

By supporting your team in their understanding of the mission of reducing food waste, you’re in a perfect position to begin tangibly lowering surplus food.


1) Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 284, 15 April 2021, 112046, ‘A study of consumer behaviour towards food-waste in Ireland: Attitudes, quantities and global warming potentials’, Angela Flanagan, Anushree Priyadarshini, Environment Sustainability & Health Institute, Technological University Dublin, Ireland

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