The UK produces more food waste per person than any other EU country, according to the European Commission.
In a report from the body’s Joint Research Centre, UK consumers were found to produce 153kg of food waste a year per person against an EU average of 123kg.
Romania wasted the least, with just 45kg per capita, less than a third of that produced by UK citizens.
According to the study, avoidable food waste represents the largest proportion with almost 80% being edible food that was not consumed. This represents 12% of all food reaching EU consumers.
Cereals, fruit and vegetables constituted the highest total of avoidable waste but, in terms of resources used in production, meat accounted for the most lost water and nitrogen.
The study concluded: “Reducing food waste should be a concern for every consumer. Zero avoidable food waste is a possibility for EU consumers.
“This would not only save a lot of money for the consumers themselves, but also for local authorities which have to pay for food-waste collection and treatment.”
The Anaerobic Digestion (AD) & Bioresources Association head of policy, Matt Hindle said: “This research further highlights the considerable value contained within such waste, and therefore the importance of reducing the volume generated and making the most of that which remains.
“Collections are vital to improve recycling rates and realise the maximum value of this resource through anaerobic digestion.
“Clearly the absence of a segregated collections policy in England is constraining the development of food waste AD plants.
“Gate fees continue to fall with increasing competition and AD industry growth will be limited unless the Westminster government offers the necessary policy and support to ensure households and businesses have the opportunity to recycle food which can’t be eaten.”
In July, the House of Lords EU committee said that food waste reduction strategies should be included in the Commission’s revised circular economy package.