Over the past three years there has been a fall in the amount of food wasted in the UK by 13%, but £12 billion worth of edible food is still thrown away each year. Charlotte Reid has more.
Research by the Government’s waste adviser, WRAP, estimates that households threw away 7.2 million tonnes of food waste in 2010, compared to the 8.3 million tonnes in 2006-07. However, because of inflation, the value of food wasted remains unchanged.
The report looking at food and drink waste in the UK says there are a number of factors as to why people are wasting less food. One of the main reasons is that with food prices rising, people have changed their shopping behaviour. Changes in the way waste is collected from households, for example recycling schemes, have raised public awareness about food waste.
Chief executive of WRAP, Dr Liz Goodwin said, “All the governments of the UK which fund our work have the goal of moving swiftly towards a zero waste society. Their priority is to find ways of tackling waste – including food waste – and keep scarce resources in use for as long as possible.
“WRAP’s work in supporting families and business in wasting less and recycling more is well known. Less well known is the ground-breaking research and technological innovation we have pioneered which supports the UK economy through major breakthroughs in resource efficiency that deliver cost savings.”
The report ends by saying that in the future, further research needs to be done into the types of food being thrown away by different households.
The WRAP report comes after it was revealed that British shoppers throw away 10% of their weekly shop. Jack Cunningham, Sainsbury’s head of climate change and environment, said nobody wants to waste food but may think it is unavoidable because of “unpredictable lifestyles and hectic schedules”.
Waste is just one part of consumer behaviour that needs to be resolved. If you would like to read a more in depth analysis of ethical consumerism, please visit our in-depth report, Ethical Shopping 2011. As one reader said, on our comments page, “What an interesting article. I found it very informative and will definitely be thinking more about the choices I make this Christmas“.