Food: Waste

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 19 July 2016.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential (a) merits and (b) effectiveness of introducing voluntary targets to reduce food waste in (i) households, (ii) businesses and (iii) public bodies.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Targets within our voluntary agreements with businesses such as the Courtauld Commitment with the grocery sector have been very effective in helping businesses and households to reduce food waste, make associated financial savings and deliver carbon savings and other environmental benefits. Local authorities have also benefited through reduced household waste disposal costs.

Household food waste has reduced by 15% between 2007 and 2012 despite an increase of 4% in the number of households in the UK. This reduction alone has avoided 18Mt of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Supply chain food and packaging waste reduced by 7.4% between 2009 and 2012, with interim results for Courtauld 3 showing a further 3.2% reduction in food waste by 2014.

We want to do more to build on the success of the voluntary approach. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) therefore launched Courtauld 2025 on 15 March this year. This is a commitment by stakeholders across the UK food and drink system – including hospitality and food service businesses, retailers, food manufacturers and local authorities - and includes a voluntary target of a 20% reduction in food and drink waste arising in the UK. According to WRAP’s analysis, reaching this level of reduction would deliver an estimated £20bn savings to the UK economy, including £4bn savings to businesses (with the majority of savings benefitting householders).

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