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Supermarket food waste laws already in Scotland, says ZWS

Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) chief executive Ian Gulland has said that current obligations on businesses in Scotland mean there is no need for extra initiatives for redistributing surplus food as have been agreed recently in France.

Iain Gulland Zero Waste Scotland

Gulland (left) says in his latest blog that legal obligations in Scotland mean all businesses must apply the waste hierarchy to prioritise reuse and recycling over disposal so “food businesses should be routinely redistributing their edible surplus for human consumption, where it is safe to do so, by law”. 

Meanwhile in England, the charity Fareshare has announced that the Tesco Extra store at Surrey Quays will pilot a scheme to send unsold food to charities.

Supermarket managers will use an app to alert charities daily about surplus food. The charity then confirms it wants the food and picks it up free from the store. If the pilot is successful, there will be a wider trial in four cities.

The scheme follows a petition addressed to the Prime Minister with more than 165,000 signatures calling for similar legislation to France, where supermarkets with an area over 400sq m have to sign contracts with charities to take their food waste.

Gulland’s blog, published before Tesco’s announcement, said: “Schemes like Fareshare do amazing work, but their existence is symptomatic of wastefulness throughout the food system. ZWS believes our priority should be to avoid wasting so much in the first place.

“This is a complex area, with a number of factors, from lifestyles, consumer behaviour and market demands all at play.”

WRAP has welcomed the Fareshare-Tesco pilot.

Director of sustainable food systems, Richard Swannell said: “Having a system that allows charities to identify what surplus food is available in their local area is a great way to ensure food that cannot be sold reaches those most in need.

“Ensuring that good food goes to people is beneficial for society, the environment and the economy and is consistent with the targets in the Courtauld Commitment, of which Tesco is a signatory.”

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