Food Waste Levels to be Reduced

Voluntary Targets to Reduce Food Waste

Leading fast food restaurants, pubs, hotels and contract caterers announced that they have signed up to new voluntary food waste targets aiming to cut excessive food waste and packaging over the next three years. The first signatories include McDonald’s, Domino’s, Greggs, the Greene King brewing chain and the entire catering operation in the Houses of Parliament.  This represents the first significant unilateral food waste reduction initiative.

Government departments – including the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) – and industry bodies are also among those supporting the food waste reduction agreement, pledging to cut food waste and packaging by 5% – the equivalent of 100m meals – by 2015. The sector-wide UK voluntary food waste reduction agreement also aims to increase to 70% the overall amount of packaging and food waste that is being recycled or used to generate energy. These two food waste reduction measures, if achieved, would save about 570,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

‘Huge Amounts’ of Unnecessary Food Waste

Industry figures suggest that over 3.4m tonnes of food waste, glass, paper, card and other refuse is produced by hotels, pubs, restaurants and other food waste producing establishments each year.

The agreement – called the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, has been launched by waste advisor WRAP on behalf of the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland governments. In the face of stinging criticism of the unnecessary food waste they generate, the signatories are also hoping to achieve significant cost savings. If just 25% of the sector were to sign up, WRAP said it could save up to £76m due to food waste reduction by the end of 2015.

Liz Goodwin, the chief executive officer of Wrap, said: “Tackling food waste brings significant financial and environmental benefits, as already demonstrated through our work on household food waste. I am therefore delighted that so many organisations have signed up already.”

Lord Taylor, minister for environment, added: “This new agreement shows these household names are committed to stopping this terrible food waste. By taking additional steps to reduce the amount of food waste these businesses and organisations will stop the equivalent of 100m wasted meals going to the bin and save themselves money”.

The agreement will be overseen by a steering group, which will include signatories and supporters, and will have responsibility for reviewing food waste progress on delivery against the food waste targets and sharing good practice.


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