UK makes progress towards zero food waste to landfill
4th July 2019 | Recycling
The UK has reduced the amount of food waste going to landfill by almost two million tonnes since 2013, according to a report from food waste recycling company ReFood. The report, titled “New Food Waste Horizons,” was launched at the UK AD and World Biogas Expo in Birmingham (3-4 July) and sets out the progress made by stakeholders across the food supply chain since the publication of ReFood’s 2013 report, “Vision 2020: UK roadmap to zero food waste to landfill.”
Vision 2020 highlighted the value of food waste and set out a variety of solutions for households and business to keep food out of landfill, where it produces the greenhouse gas methane.
Vision 2020 stated that the UK could save more than £17 billion a year if it achieved zero food waste to landfill by 2020, through a combination of solutions. It recommended a focus on ensuring that surplus edible food is redistributed to those in need, or sent for use as animal and pet food, while unavoidable, non-edible waste should be used to generate energy and organic fertiliser through anaerobic digestions (AD) and in-vessel composting processes.
At the time of Vision 2020’s publication, 14.8 million tonnes of food were being wasted, 40 per cent of which (6.92 million tonnes) was being sent to landfill. The most recent figures (from 2015) show some positive developments: the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) states that 10 million tonnes of food and drink is being wasted per year, 4.1 tonnes of which was sent to landfill. However, this figure clearly remains much higher than it needs to be, with around seven million tonnes of food waste classed as “edible”.
“Across the board there have been both challenges and successes,” commented ReFood’s Commercial Director Philip Simpson. “The overall picture is extremely positive. As a nation, we still have a long way to go, but zero waste to landfill is becoming ever-more achievable.”
The report notes that a number of successes in the pursuit of food waste reduction have been made by stakeholders across the supply chain, from the food production stage through to retailers and all the way to our plates at home.
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