Ramco feature in The Grocer - Slash carbon emissions by disposing of surplus kitchen equipment sustainably

This week, Ramco's article about surplus kitchen equipment disposal and its impact on slashing carbon emissions featured in The Grocer. Read the full article below.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) recently released a declaration signed by 20 retailers, cementing their commitment to reducing carbon emissions in their businesses and throughout their supply chains before the 2050 net-zero deadline.

Retail is the largest private-sector employer in the UK, so the potential of a collective effort to reduce carbon emissions is huge.

There are many sustainable practices businesses have adopted in recent years. Increased use of green energy, car share schemes, or simply cutting down on unnecessary printing are just a few initiatives typically implemented to reduce carbon emissions.

Among food retailers, reducing food waste is likely to be high on the agenda when it comes to reducing the size of their carbon footprint. But there is another, too often overlooked, way that grocery and foodservice businesses can make significant carbon savings, and that’s disposal of surplus equipment such as freezers, chillers and ovens.

Technology, as well as our eating habits, is constantly changing. With this, newer versions of catering equipment are constantly needed for in-store cafés, workplace canteens, restaurants and hotel kitchens. Yet when we meet businesses for the first time and ask, ‘what’s your policy for disposing of surplus catering equipment?’ there’s often something of a tumbleweed moment.

While the problem of food waste is well-documented, surplus kitchen equipment is not. The waste equipment market is worth at least £250m in the UK, based on research we’ve done, but savings in carbon are potentially even greater.

The UK throws away one million tonnes of electronic items each year, and half of all e-waste is scrapped appliances, with fridges making up 20%. Adopting the reuse approach means that less than 1% of surplus equipment ends up in landfill.

The good news is there is a more sustainable and compliant option for the disposal and resale of surplus equipment that is no longer commercially required, in the form of a dynamic reuse and secondhand market.

Every year this market finds new homes in the catering and hospitality sector for everything from combi ovens, dishwashers, potato peelers and pizza ovens to ice machines, fryers, range cookers and griddles. What’s more, as well as being the right thing to do, it can also produce an income stream for the original owners of the kit.

It is encouraging that the BRC signatories are not focusing only on their own businesses but looking at ways to cut carbon throughout their entire supply chain. But if the UK is to meet its net-zero target, each business needs to ensure it is taking advantage of every possible carbon-saving opportunity, which includes consideration of how surplus or end-of-life equipment is disposed of.