CIWM has welcomed the report by the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee on Food Waste in England , which identifies a number of the key challenges to be addressed to maintain progress both on preventing food waste and maximising the opportunities to recover value from unavoidable food waste.
“Food waste is a challenging area of behaviour change and the report does highlight the need for engagement across the food supply chain,” says CIWM chief executive Dr Colin Church. “CIWM broadly agrees with the Committee’s call for further action on a number of fronts, including the role that retailers can play in helping their customers to waste less food, more work on the difficult topic of date labelling, and measures to ensure that the UK’s policy framework does not incentivise food waste collection and recycling over prevention.
“The report also raises the issue about the extent to which voluntary initiatives are robust enough to drive further progress. Given the complexity of the issue, a traditional target-based approach may not be the answer, and Minister Dr Thérèse Coffey’s recent comments on food waste indicate there is little government appetite to set out any mandatory requirements on food waste at present. However, there is certainly room to encourage a renewed focus on the waste hierarchy among food retail and hospitality businesses and for more work to be done to promote the redistribution of edible food.
“With UK and English recycling rates sliding backwards, the recommendation for a more consistent approach to including food waste in local authority collection schemes is also welcome, particularly as only around 50% of English households have access to food waste collections. Improving this figure is not only the next ‘big win’ in terms of increasing recycling performance, but also ensures that food waste that cannot be avoided is used to create green energy and soil improvement products.”