As the hospitality sector has had such a long time out of action the past couple of years due to Covid lockdowns, what has been the environmental impact of pub closures?
The Environmental Impact of Pub Closures
One of the most common waste streams from pubs is glass, whether from empty bottles, or broken glasses. With less punters, pubs have not been producing as much glass waste for recycling.
Plastics and cardboard are also common pub waste and they too have decreased since the closures. With no customers, pubs have not ordered supplies, so no cardboard or plastic waste was being generated.
Food waste is very common in the pub sector, costing £357 million a year, and generating 873,800 tonnes of annual waste. Although some unused food and drink had to be thrown away when lockdown commenced, there has been an overall positive impact on food waste during the lockdown.
Has Any Pub Waste Increased?
Although pub closures reduced volumes of waste to be recycled, there is a lot of food and drink waste now reaching its expiry date. A recent BBC article in Wales suggested that ‘around 2.8 million pints of beer went to waste. This contributes to waste figures and increases the risk of pollution: all that liquid ends up in Welsh sewers.
Although they have been severely missed by many in the UK, pub closures have had a significant positive impact on the environment. With common waste materials that come from pubs decreasing in volume, fewer punters have translated into less waste even though the negatives, like the out of date beer and food, had a negative environmental impact. As lockdown begins to lift, it will be interesting to see which way the numbers go, as the pub sector makes up for the lost time.
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