UK throwing away £13bn of food each year
12th January 2017 | Recycling
UK households binned £113bn worth of food in 2015 which could have been eaten. This suggests that progress in reducing the national food waste mountain has stalled. Despite efforts to reduce food waste through the supply chain, a new national update from the waste and recycling advisory body, Wrap, showed that and estimated 7.3m tonnes of household food waste was thrown away in 2012. This is up from 7m tonnes in 2012 – an increase of 4.2%.
Of the food thrown away, 4.4m tonnes was deemed to be “avoidable” waste that was edible at some point before it was put in the bin or food waste caddy. This would include bread which has gone mouldy and compares with 4.2m tonnes in 2012. The rest were scraps that could not be eaten such as meat bones, eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds, apple cores and fruit and vegetable peelings.
£470 of food per household
This mean the average UK household wasted £470 worth of food, which went in the bin when it could have been eaten. The avoidable food waste generated 19m tonnes of greenhouse gases over its lifetime. Preventing that pollution would be equivalent to taking one in four cars off UK roads, Wrap said.
It pointed to progress made since it started assembling detailed records and analysis nine years ago. Wrap said that falls in food prices and rising incomes since 2014 had reduce the incentive for people to cut their food waste.
Between 2007 and 2012 the total amount of household food waste fell by 15%, and avoidable food waste dropped by 21%. This is thanks to rising food prices and changes to labelling to simplify use by date advice – alongside to raise awareness. The latest figures show the food industry has failed to meet a commitment to cut household food waste by 5% between 2012 and 2015.
“Citizens ware wasting 1m tonnes less food per year, which means over 8m tonnes less food waste than when we started tackling this issue in 2007,” said Wrap’s chief executive, Marcus Gover. But it is incredibly challenging to reduce food waste, and the stalling of progress shows just how difficult it is.”
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