According to the findings of a WRAP report, in the five years to 2012, food waste volumes available to the waste management industry have fallen by 1.1 million tonne.
According to WRAP – the Waste & Resources Action Programme – Food waste volumes have reduced by up to 21%.
The reduction had occurred through work by key retailers, food brands and other manufacturers, adding: “They have made it easier for people to buy the right amounts of food and drink, keep what they buy at its best and use what they buy through innovations in products, packaging and labelling.”
Further reductions are now being targeted by WRAP, estimating that by 2025 a further 1.7 million tonnes of avoidable household food waste could be removed from the waste stream.
‘Although progress has been made in reducing food waste we cannot be complacent; we must all act to eradicate this smear on our lifestyles. I see tackling food waste as a key priority for my Department.’
Mark Durkan, environment minister, Northern Ireland
“The top three foods that Britons are throwing away uneaten include every day essentials: bread, potatoes and milk. The equivalent of a staggering 24 million slices of bread, 5.8 million potatoes and 5.9 million glasses of milk are wasted daily. Chicken also made the top ten with the equivalent of 86 million chickens thrown away each year, despite being the nation’s favourite meat. Sweet treats like cake make the list too.”
Northern Ireland’s environment minister Mark Durkan, who underlined his department’s plan to kerb food waste being sent to landfill, formed the strongest political comment in response to the report.
Mr Durkan said: “In the 21st century it is disgraceful that we are wasting so much food, as well as the related energy and water resources associated with food production. This wastage is even more unacceptable when we consider citizens suffering from poverty and at risk of malnutrition in our society and the millions going hungry across the globe.
“Although progress has been made in reducing food waste we cannot be complacent; we must all act to eradicate this smear on our lifestyles. I see tackling food waste as a key priority for my Department.”
A range of measures to reduce food waste, including the proposed introduction of food waste restrictions for landfill through to actions within the Waste Prevention Programme will be provided in the recently published Waste Management Strategy.