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Scotland sets food waste reduction benchmark

Scotland has set the baseline figure from which it will aim to reduce its food waste by 33% by 2025.

An estimated 1.35 million tonnes of food and drink was wasted in 2013, according to figures released by charity Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS).

This means the country now aims to produce around 460,000 fewer tonnes of food and drink waste in 2025, accounting for higher arisings expected from population growth.

ZWS’s report How much food and drink waste is there in Scotland shows that most food was wasted in households (48%) and manufacturing (38%).

Other sectors producing food waste are:

  • Hospitality: 4%
  • Retail: 2%
  • Education: 2%
  • Health and social care: 2%
  • Wholesale: 1%

But food losses incurred in primary production have been excluded from the baseline figures, pending “further work to quantify this through better data”.

The charity also published an update showing that there has already been a 5.7% reduction in household food waste between 2009 and 2014.

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham (pictured above) said: “This research from ZWS, together with the work that we are doing to measure food that does not make it off the farm, will set the baseline against which we will measure our target.

“We will now collaborate with organisations from all sections of the supply chain to develop options for policy interventions to meet our target.”

ZWS chief executive Iain Gulland (pictured below) said: “While household food waste remains the biggest sector, the fact that more than half comes from business and public sector shows that we need clear leadership in these areas to make the transformative change we all want to see.

“We have made a good start. Since putting the issue of food waste on the map, we have worked to reduce household food waste, resulting in a 6% decrease. We are also providing small and medium-sized businesses with dedicated advice and support to reduce their food waste and related costs.

“We look forward to working further with the Scottish Government and partners to develop additional priorities for action that will continue to influence behaviour, so that wasting food, at any level, is socially unacceptable.”

2000 iain gulland

2000 iain gulland

Readers' comments (2)

  • Nonsense. The figures do not stack up.

    With 30% of the population pensioners, and 20% under the age of 5 - these do not create food waste. So 4 Million people waste 1.35 Million tonnes per year! It is not credible for that means 337 kilogrammes per person per year which equals 7 kilogrammes per week per person. Since Food Waste is measured by dry mass and it is 60% water this implies 17.5 kilogrammes per person per week grossed up.

    Use your brains people, these figures are hilarious and it is almost April 1st again....or Black Friday. It is a joke.

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  • A few points to consider:
    Food waste is produced by all households in varying quantities and the evidence is based on the analysis of what local authorities actually collect. Per capita food waste is generally higher for single person households, which would include some pensioner households.
    The Scotland estimates include supply chain food waste as well as that produced by households.
    Food waste is not measured by dry mass for the same reason that food product weights in the supermarket are not based on dry mass.
    Scotland is not unusual in having a high level of food waste, as recent European studies have estimated 88 million tonnes of food waste across the EU28, worth over 140 billion euros in 2012.

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