Food waste smart scales to tackle NI climate crisis

A Newry technology company has developed a smart scales platform to help reduce food waste within the local hospitality and food service businesses.

By Claire Cartmill
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 2:00 pm

Food Safe System, which simplifies and automates the food compliance procedures for the local industry has been awarded a £5,000 grant to get their F*Waste smart scales installed into Newry restaurants.

At present the scales are undergoing commercial testing in Belfast restaurants, and with the Live Here Love Here funding, Food Safe System are now able to purchase and install more. The future also looks bright for F*Waste with significant interest from the UK, Ireland and US businesses.

Food Safe System manager Neil Bradley, explained: “We plan to use the money to roll out our F*Waste smart scales food waste prevention platform, into hospitality businesses in the Newry area, to enable them to reduce their food waste.

Neil Bradley, Food Safe System manager who is using the grant to roll out our F*Waste smart scales food waste prevention platform, into hospitality businesses in the Newry area, to enable them to reduce their food waste

“The F*Waste smart scales are connected to the internet as part of the IoT (Internet of Things). The scales sit under food waste bins in professional kitchens and measure their food waste in real time. It then uses that information to help them reduce and prevent food waste therefore

minimising their environmental impact and reducing the business’s cost.”

In a first for Ireland and the UK there are no other IoT connected scales like this in the world at the moment.

The scales sit under the kitchen’s bin. It’s completely wireless and can be located anywhere. Staff don’t have to do anything differently and information is collected automatically. The scales are tracked in real time and that data is used to identify patterns of food waste.

He continued: “Perhaps when they buy a particular type of food they waste more, maybe on a particular day there’s more waste happening or when a particular member of staff is working there’s more food waste, so maybe they need to train that staff member. They might find when the weather is bad they have more food waste, so they can plan for that.

“We can also then by using information on sales and purchases identify why those patterns are happening and then use that data to help the restaurants prevent that food waste from happening. Ultimately, we are aiming to tackle carbon emissions and improve the quality of our area.”

Funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, the Live Here Love Here funding helps schools, local councils, community band youth groups and businesses across Northern Ireland benefit from grants to help put their climate knowledge into action.

So far it has made £200,000 available for projects that introduced climate action into local communities. The grant money allocated will help reduce carbon emissions through innovative initiatives and maximise opportunities for community participation in local climate conversations and projects right across Northern Ireland.

The Climate Challenge Fund, which received applications in March and April, was open to any organisation in Northern Ireland interested in tackling the climate emergency. Funded projects were required to demonstrate innovative, creative or functional approaches to climate action, with successful applicants receiving in the region of £1,000 to £5,000 to meet the scale of the challenge.

Bradley added: “I have always been passionate about finding ways to help the hospitality industry reduce its carbon footprint and by doing so helping to increase their profits. I’m thrilled that the Live Here Love Here funding has given us a fantastic opportunity to introduce this unique technology to our home city of Newry. Our F*Waste smart scales will enable selected local businesses to reduce their food waste and ultimately reduce their impact on our local environment.”

Jemma Davies, climate clever communities programme coordinator, added: “We are very pleased to support 42 different projects through Live Here Love Here’s Climate Challenge Fund. People from a variety of sectors have come forward to access the capital they need to transform their carbon-cutting ideas into practice. In the end, we were hugely oversubscribed with applications and worked hard to stretch our budget across as many exciting proposals as we could. We encourage as many groups as possible to reach out to us if they want to ‘Live Here Love Here’.”