As part of the continued focus on improving food waste management in the county, Carlow County Council’s Environment Section and Local Enterprise Office in association with Carlow Tourism & County Carlow Chamber will deliver the Optimization + Programme for two groups of food related businesses in Carlow: Hospitality & Tourism SMEs; and Food Manufacturers, Processors, Retailers, Wholesalers & Supply Chain SMEs. This programme will look to see how much money is your business throwing in the bin and how this can be improved.
Cllr. Fintan Phelan, Cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council, welcomed the project saying, “Carlow County Councils ambition to become a leading light in environmental improvement is illustrated by our sustained and strategic commitment to the Optimization + programme which is a follow on from last year’s Optimization Programme.”
“Ireland generates approximately 1 million tonnes of food waste per year (not including wasted food from agriculture), which represents a carbon footprint as high as 3.6 Mt CO2eq. Around 40% of this comes from food processing operations. We are delighted to have secured funding to deliver this programme that offers so many benefits to food enterprises in Carlow and I would encourage them to participate.”
Kathleen Holohan, Chief Executive Carlow County Council commented, “as a council protection of the environment has never been higher on our agenda. The Optimization + programme will work across national, regional and local communities, agencies and stakeholders to strengthen through co-operation food waste management in the county of Carlow, whilst delivering on global, national and local legislation and initiatives such as Goal 12.3 of the UN SDGs and the ‘National Waste Management Plan for the Circular Economy’ once published.”
The programme involves individual company mentoring followed by a training briefing to help guide companies to the supports available for implementation of projects that are designed to improve a company’s competitiveness. These supports include the €2,500 Lean for Micro & the €2,500 Green for Micro Vouchers which provide up to €5,000 worth of consultancy support for each company.
Speaking about the motivation behind the development of the Optimization + programme, Maria Couchman, Economic Development Officer at Carlow County Council, said, “the Optimization + Programme is a quick win way to save a business money and comply with legal food waste management obligations. The programme offers the opportunity for food related businesses to secure fully funded consultancy vouchers valued up to €5,000 through the LEAN for Micro & Green for Micro which means more financial gain for businesses while they deliver less waste and more profit so its WIN, WIN!”
The Optimization + Programme is delivered by food waste management experts who work with SMEs to deliver Food Waste Assessment to national standards, and an estimate of financial savings potential as well as signposting and supporting companies to apply for the Lean for Micro & Green for Micro Vouchers.
The programme and supports will help to deliver a profit led food waste management mentoring and roadmap. It will also assist with legal environmental food waste obligations that will lead to a reduction in Green House Gas emissions and help to Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose food waste.
The programme also offers a certificate of improvement to communicate food waste improvement to customers as well as valuable peer learning and networking.
Colin Duggan, President of County Carlow Chamber of Commerce stated, “we are delighted to be working with food waste experts and the Centre for Clean Technology in Cork to deliver this essential programme that offers financial savings to county Carlow’s Food Manufacturers, Processors, Retailers, Wholesalers and Supply Chain SMEs.”
Michael Walsh , Chairperson of Carlow Tourism added, “The Optimization + Programme guides Hospitality and Tourism SMEs to comply with their legal food waste obligations thus improving their environmental credentials. The Optimization + improvement award is a beneficial way to communicate their commitment to improving environmental management to customers.”
Source: Local Enterprise Office Carlow