UK food and packaging waste drains £6.9bn annually

By Jenni Spinner contact

- Last updated on GMT

The UK economy loses billions of pounds each year to food waste.
The UK economy loses billions of pounds each year to food waste.

Related tags: Packaging waste, Recycling, Government

A huge chunk of food and food packaging ends up in UK landfills; reversing the waste trend could save consumers and businesses billions each year.

An estimated 7% of the food and beverage market’s total value is lost to product and packaging waste. If parties all along the retail supply chain—from producers to end users—make some tweaks in production, purchasing and other practices along the way, much of the estimated 6.5m tonnes tossed each year could be saved.

Waste not

WRAP, an organization dedicated to improving recycling and axing waste in the UK, estimates of the 6.5m tonnes of waste coming from the grocery supply chain, 3.9m arises from food and drink manufacturers; the majority of that is the food itself. Packaging accounts for approximately 1.2m tonnes.

Richard Swannell, director of WRAP, said fighting food waste benefits the bottom line as well as the planet.

Armed with this knowledge, businesses, and the supply chain as a whole, can more readily identify where problems are arising, enabling them to find the solutions to reduce their waste and make large financial and environmental savings​,” he said.

Preventative measures

The organization claims that the key to cutting down food and packaging waste is discovering and promoting preventative practices. If food manufacturers and retailers work to reduce their own waste, and work with supply-chain partners to unlock more prevention methods,  the battle will be half won.

WRAP also pointed out that pressure to cut food waste is coming from the government. In 2011, for example, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs released its Government Review of Waste Policy, in which it stated the goal to move Britain toward a zero-waste economy.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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