£13bn of food wasted each year

Waste and recycling advisory body Wrap has revealed in a new report that UK households threw away £13 billion worth of food that could have been eaten in 2015.

The estimated amount of household food waste (HHFW) in the UK for 2015 was 7.3 million tonnes, an apparent increase of 4.4 per cent from the 7.0 million tonnes in 2012. The amount of avoidable HHFW in 2015 stood at 4.4 million tonnes, compared to 4.2 million tonnes in 2012. The equates to a 5.1 per cent increase.

In total, the food binned by UK households represents a retail value of £13 billion, or £470 per household. This avoidable HHFW was associated with 19 million tonnes of CO2e, which is equivalent to the emissions generated by one in four cars on UK roads.

Despite progress being recognised, Wrap pinpointed a decline in food prices and an increase in incomes as the main contributors as to why people are not being incentivised to cut their food waste.

Marcus Gover, Wrap’s chief executive, said: “Citizens are wasting one million tonnes less food per year, which means over eight million tonnes less food waste than when we started tackling this issue in 2007. But it is incredibly challenging to reduce food waste, and the stalling of progress shows just how difficult it is.

“That’s why I’m calling on all businesses, organisations, campaigners and NGOs who work in this area to unite together in the fight against food waste. By working together we can win this battle.”

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:“Good progress has been made by industry to tackle food and packaging waste in the supply chain and it goes to show the achievements that can be made through working together with partners across the UK.

“But we all have a role to play and despite a million-tonne fall in domestic food waste since 2007, there is clearly more we need to do. That is why we will continue to work with WRAP to support their new strategy to raise awareness, increase education and change people’s perceptions of food waste.”

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