Scottish households are throwing away £1 billion worth of food each year, according to a new report.
The Waste & Resources Action Programme has published the report called The food we waste in Scotland. It reveals that Scottish households throw out 570,000 tonnes of food and drink each year, most of which could have been avoided if it had been planned for, stored or prepared better.
This is a loss to the average household of £430 every year. For families with children it is higher at £550.
WRAP Scotland director Iain Gulland said: This new research shows the massive financial and environmental burden of food waste. Scottish households are throwing out huge amounts of food, most of which could have been eaten, and this costs us dearly. Not only are we paying for this food at the checkout, we are also paying to dispose of it through our council tax. This is a terrible waste in these difficult economic times.
Collecting and disposing of food waste costs councils an estimated £85 million a year.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: Im sure most people would agree that its shocking to think that society needlessly wastes £1 billion of food each year in Scotland. As well as the financial strain on households, the equivalent of £8 to £10 a week, food and packaging add considerably to our waste stream.
Food waste is one of many issues currently being addressed in the Governments zero waste plan, which I would urge people to have their say on. The plan is about everyone making smarter day-to-day choices that will take us further down the road towards becoming a zero waste society.
Waste Aware Scotland campaign manager Dr Nicki Souter added: This report being so detailed truly shows the public how much food is currently wasted in Scotland. The reasons we waste our food are that we cook or prepare too much or we buy things and then dont use them in time.
WRAP is currently undertaking research on the amounts of food waste produced by the retail sector and its supply chain and by the hospitality industry. This research will be published later in 2009.
The most commonly wasted food groups are:
- Drinks (70,000 tonnes, worth £140m)
- Fresh vegetables (62,000 tonnes, worth £100m)
- Bakery (46,000 tonnes, worth £100m)
- Fresh fruit (34,000 tonnes, worth £70m)
- Meat and fish (20,000 tonnes, worth £130m)