How to Tackle the UK’s Food Waste Issue

47 million tonnes of edible food is wasted annually in the EU and it seems Britain is the worst offender; binning the equivalent of a can of beans per person every day.

A study by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre found that 16% of all food that reaches consumers is wasted and nearly 80% of that waste is avoidable.  Not only does this cost us billions, but it damages the environment and wastes precious resources. 

Wasted water and nitrogen resources associated with avoidable food waste were also calculated in the study with disturbing results, e.g.:
the blue water footprint associated with food waste slightly exceeds the total blue consumptive EU municipal water use;the green water footprint is equivalent to the total green consumptive water use for crop production in Spain; andthe nitrogen footprint is equivalent to mineral fertilizer use in the UK and Germany combined.  With food security being one of the greatest global challenges we face, we consider what is being done and what can be done to tackle this worrying problem. 

What are we doing now?
Waste Regulations are in force which introduce the ‘waste hierarchy’, requiring businesses to take all reasonable measures to prevent waste; using disposal as a last resort after first considering re-use, recycling or other useful waste operations, such as anaerobic digestion.
In addition to waste legislation, DEFRA’s Review of Waste Policy outlines the action being taken by government to reduce waste.  Currently, th...

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