Scottish environment secretary Richard Lochhead plans to introduce a formal food waste reduction target for the country – said to be the first in Europe.
Lochhead told the Scottish Resources Conference in Glasgow that the country’s avoidable food waste had reduced by 30,000 tonnes a year (7.7%) since 2009. Household food waste overall had dropped by 37,000 tonnes a year (5.7%) in this time, saving households £9.2m a year.
“That’s a great start but I want to see more done. I want Scotland to lead by example,” Lochhead said. “I intend to introduce a food waste target that I believe will be the first such target in Europe.
“It will place Scotland at the forefront of tackling global food waste together with the US, which recently announced a target to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030.
“I will fully consult with all stakeholders to set the right target to support both Scotland’s food and drink, and our zero waste, ambitions.”
Lochhead will set out a food waste target in his circular economy strategy, to be published later this year.
Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) chief executive Iain Gulland said: “Today’s news of such a substantial reduction in avoidable food waste is testament to a terrific effort by people in Scotland to cut waste: shopping smarter, planning meals better and enjoying the resulting benefit to their wallets.
“More attention is now being paid to preventing it worldwide, so ZWS is very happy to support the cabinet secretary’s call for a formal food waste target for Scotland. A target will help us all to concentrate on the task of eradicating avoidable food waste as well as demonstrate leadership and commitment the rest of the world might follow.”
Currently, two billion tonnes of food waste is generated globally every year, with Scotland contributing around 1.4 million tonnes to that figure, and 600,000 tonnes of that comes from households. Sixty per cent of household waste, such as unused leftover food, food that has gone off and been thrown away, is seen as avoidable.