Food: Waste Disposal

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 15th May 2008.

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Photo of Eric Pickles Eric Pickles Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support is being provided by his Department to promote food waste collection for the commercial sector.

Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Climate Change, Biodiversity and Waste)

The Government aim to reduce the amount of food waste created by businesses and consumers; and to encourage better management through environmentally friendly treatment of waste where prevention is not possible.

The Government funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has a target to divert 100,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill by March 2008. Retailers agreed in the Courtauld Commitment One Year On event, in November 2006, to work with WRAP to help deliver this target. In recent months they have been joined by many significant food manufacturers. This work will provide the evidence base as to how post-consumer food waste can be diverted and the Government will be expecting retailers and manufacturers to help tackle the climate change impacts of food waste.

Food waste collections from commercial businesses were promoted by WRAP's Recycle at Work programme from 2006-08. WRAP commissioned four commercial food waste trials during this time; they ran from October 2006 to June 2007. WRAP commissioned independent evaluation of the trials between October 2007 and March 2008. The Executive Summary of the evaluation will be made available on the WRAP website shortly. WRAP's Good Practice Guidance on providing recycling services to businesses is also available from the WRAP website, providing guidance on setting up and marketing recycling services to Small or Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

WRAP advises local authorities on waste collection arrangements. Where appropriate, it advises them to consider opportunities for the co-collection of food waste from commercial premises with food waste from domestic properties, to help with the economics of household food waste collections.

DEFRA is working closely with the food industry to improve its environmental impact through the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS). The FISS targets a reduction in the food industry's own wastes of 15 to 20 per cent. by 2010.

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