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How to reduce waste in pubs and clubs

REMONDIS Australia // 1 November 2020


Collecting enough cardboard and paper could pay for your recycling efforts


Buy goods in bulk so you pay for less packaging and dispose less material


Make sure staff and cleaners understand your recycling program and sorting requirements


Reducing waste in pubs and clubs

These tips for waste segregation and systemisation at bars, clubs and pubs will result in reduced collection costs, whilst increasing environmentally beneficial recycling.

Around 60 per cent of what is thrown into a typical pub or bar waste bin consists of food, paper and cardboard, while another ten per cent is glass and plastic.

Reduce, re-use, recycle

You probably know that most of this material can be recycled instead of being sent to landfill. But did you realise that by putting these materials in the correct bins your business could save money via a reduced waste collection charge? The wider benefit is that by recycling you will be helping our environment.

In NSW, food waste accounts for the second largest identifiable portion of commercial and industry waste. In Sydney alone, the total food waste amounts to over 300,000 tonnes.

You can recycle everything from coffee grounds, which can be composted, to cooking oils, which can be converted to biofuels.

Paper, cardboard and plastic can be recycled instead of going to landfill. If you collect enough material like cardboard and paper, you could even be paid for your recycling efforts.


  • Buy perishable and non-perishables in bulk. It will mean you pay for less packaging and have to dispose of less material. For example, spirits come in bulk bottles that you can attach to a dispensing system
  • When possible, buy items in returnable containers, such as milk crates. Set up a system to return containers to your suppliers
  • Keep your work areas clean and tidy. If things are well-organised and labelled clearly, you know where everything is. This encourages you and your staff to use only resources you need
  • Put up signs about reducing waste and recycling


  • Buy products with re-usable packaging. Great examples are beer kegs and plastic drums for post-mixes. When suppliers suggest moving away from re-usable packaging, remind them that you pay for extra disposal costs
  • Speak to your meat and fish supplier about using re-usable plastic tubs instead of disposable polystyrene and cardboard packaging
  • Filter and re-use cooking oil before you collect it in an oil drum for recycling. The useful life of oil can be prolonged by ensuring it is only heated in equipment like deep fryers when necessary for cooking
  • Return wooden and plastic pallets to suppliers
  • Return clean, undamaged polystyrene and waxed cardboard boxes if possible to your suppliers
  • Re-use or return chemical containers and drums to your suppliers. If your supplier won’t collect them, there may be others who will


  • First, consider donating unused food to a suitable charity which supplies to those in need
  • Then sort out what can be recycled. It can be cheaper to have recycling bins picked up rather than general waste bins that go to landfill
  • Make sure any staff or cleaners follow your recycling program and that they put materials in the correct bin
  • Save money by matching your bin collection timetable to your business needs. If your bins are not normally full after a week then consider moving to a fortnightly collection cycle

Other ways to improve recycling

  • Look for extra places where recycled material can be stored for collection inside and outside the building
  • Share recycling bins and baling equipment with a neighbouring business if necessary
  • Establish a commingled recycling system that takes a mix of aluminium cans, recyclable plastic drink bottles, containers, steel cans and glass. Check with your recycling service about what materials they can accept
  • Cooking oil can be recycled into useful things like vehicle fuel, animal feedstock components, fertiliser and soil conditioner. Find a recycler who does this and get them to collect your oil. Remember, it’s illegal to dispose of cooking oil or fat down the drain
  • Buy products with recycled content such as paper napkins, toilet paper, stationary and packaging
  • If your brochures, catalogues, sales letters and other promotional material are printed on recycled paper, mention that in the content. This helps to build demand for more products made from recycled materials

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