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Household food waste down 13 per cent

Resource efficiency news - by GreenWise Staff
15th November 2011
There’s been a sharp drop in the amount of food UK households throw away, new research from WRAP reveals.
Household food waste has fallen by 13 per cent over the last three years, down from 8.3 million tonnes in 2006/7 to 7.2 million tonnes in 2009/10, latest figures from the government-funded resource efficiency agency show. However, WRAP warned the drop masked the size of the challenge with £12 billion of edible food still thrown away each year and a "significant" amount still wasted throughout the food supply chain.

WRAP said the reduction in food and drink waste represents a saving of £2.5 billion a year, around 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year and almost a billion litres of water. The carbon saving of reducing avoidable food waste by 950,000 tonnes is the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road a year. 

WRAP described the savings as a "huge achievement" by the British public, helping to divert waste from landfill and to cut council bills by £80 million a year. Household food waste accounts for 50 per cent of all food thrown away in the UK.

WRAP said the reduction in food waste was probably down to a range of factors, including increased food prices and difficult economic conditions. Food inflation of over 20 per cent has effectively wiped out the cost savings achieved by the cut in household food waste over the last three years, WRAP said.

WRAP targets
WRAP also credited itself for helping businesses and households reduce their waste. Speaking at WRAP’s annual conference today, chief executive Dr Liz Goodwin revealed WRAP has met all its published major targets over the last three years. It said it had helped keep 11 million tonnes of waste out of landfill, avoid 5.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions and generate £2 billion of benefits to the UK economy, including £1.8 billion of cost savings.

"All the governments of the UK, which fund our work have the goal of moving swiftly towards a zero waste society. Their priority is to find ways of tackling waste – including food waste – and keep scarce resources in use for as long as possible. This is where WRAP’s work comes into play," she said. 

Results of the first major research into the benefits of greater reuse of household and office furniture and equipment were also unveiled by WRAP today. 

Food waste, recycling services for businesses, and driving greater reuse of scarce resources will be the three top priorities for WRAP over the coming years, it said.

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Household food waste down 13 per cent
WRAP research shows households are throwing 1.1m tonnes less food away compared to three years ago
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