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Food package waste down despite sales rise

Activity by signatories to the Courtauld Commitment 3 has led to reduced food packaging waste despite increasing sales of products, WRAP has reported.

It said manufacturing and retail waste had significantly reduced against the baseline 2012 figure.

Grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste in food and drink manufacturing and retail operations of participants was down by 80,000 tonnes, equivalent to 3.2% after the scheme’s first two years, against the overall target of a 3% fall by 2015.

Efforts to cut packaging-related carbon dioxide emissions showed a reduction of 3.9%, well ahead of the target of a zero increase.

Despite sales of packaged food and drink increasing by 5%, changes in the mix of packaging materials and increases in recycling rates resulted in the overall reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, despite packaging weight increasing by 0.7% during the same period.

This increase related to single-use transit packaging, while household packaging continued to decrease by weight. Progress against the household food waste target will be available next year.

WRAP director of sustainable food systems Richard Swannell said: “I’m delighted with the progress. What makes Courtauld so effective is the sector-wide approach to tackling the most impactful areas. Not just thinking about what will help your business, but what will make a more environmentally and economically effective supply chain.”

The Courtauld Commitment is funded by the Government and the devolved administrations.

WRAP is developing a new farm-to-fork commitment to build on this work, named Courtauld 2025. This will start next year and focus on helping consumers to reduce food waste and businesses to waste less and get more value from unavoidable waste.

Meanwhile, food waste generated by supermarkets has dropped by 20,000 tonnes a year, according to a British Retail Consortium (BRC) report collated by WRAP.

The total amount of waste which occurred in supermarkets in 2014 was 180,000 tonnes, down from 200,000 the previous year.

BRC director of food and sustainability, Andrew Opie, said: “While we welcome the fact that retail food waste levels are falling, it is nevertheless important to continue to focus attention and efforts on where the biggest reductions in food waste can be made and that is in the supply chain and at home.

“As an industry, we have a huge contribution to make and we will continue our work with suppliers and customers to build on the progress we have already achieved.”

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