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New food waste reduction group for Highland firms

Published: 22/02/2024

Food and drink businesses in the Highland Council area interested in reducing food waste are encouraged to join a new group.

Food and drink businesses in the Highland Council area interested in improving environmental performance by reducing food waste are encouraged to join a new group.

The new ‘in-vessel composting’ common interest group, launching in April, will help members to explore shared challenges and ideas relating to managing food waste.

In-vessel composting is where food waste is composted close to source in an enclosed container with temperature control and monitoring. For the right size of businesses, this can save costs while producing valuable compost.

The group is led by SAC Consulting on behalf of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). It’s part of the Food and Drink TechHUB support service for the sector and is delivered in partnership in collaboration with Lochaber Environmental Group and the Highland Good Food Partnership, two of the partners within the Highland Community Waste Partnership (HCWP).

It will provide businesses, including those with food services such as hotels, with the opportunity to work with like-minded entrepreneurs with specialist support on the challenges and opportunities associated with food waste management.

Food and Drink TechHUB provides a mix of events for food and drink firms including innovation clinics, one to one support and common interest groups. It is part of the Northern Innovation Hub, which is funded with £11m from UK Government, £1.2m ERDF and £2m from Scottish Government through HIE. NIH is part of the Inverness and Highland City Region deal, a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.

Catriona Ramsay, business development manager in HIE’s NIH team, said:

“This new group will help food and drink producers and start-ups to reduce the environmental impact of food waste. For small-scale businesses, an in-vessel composter has the potential to cut waste disposal costs.”

Luisa Riascos Caipe, Food and Enterprise Consultant at SAC Consulting said:

“In-vessel composters can improve the environmental performance of businesses through food waste reduction and recycling. When food waste is properly recycled, it can provide soil improvement for farming or a renewable energy source.

“By diverting food waste away from incineration, Scotland can make significant progress in transitioning to a circular bioeconomy and lead to considerable reductions in greenhouse gases, like methane, which is 24 times worse than carbon dioxide.  Businesses can contribute to this effort by investing in food waste solutions, which would demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and proactive steps towards improving their environmental performance.”

Businesses interested in finding out more can contact Luisa Riascos, SAC Consulting at

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