The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee launches an inquiry into the economic, social, and environmental impact of food waste in England, focusing particularly on how far voluntary initiatives can further reduce food waste and whether legislation is required in this area.
The EFRA Committee states that the UK wastes approximately 8m tonnes of food is wasted post-manufacture across households, retail and wholesale and the hospitality/food sector, of which 60% could be avoided, with an annual value of approximately £16bn a year. The inquiry will not look at manufacturing and agriculture.
It is inviting written evidence and the key questions for the inquiry are:
- What is the economic, environmental and social impact of food waste in England?
- What measures could be most effective in reducing food waste by retailers, the hospitality sector, local government, and consumers? These can include redistribution, recycling and recovery, and improved packaging and labelling.
- What proposals are necessary to further reduce food waste?
- How effective are existing voluntary initiatives in England and is there a need for legislation?
- What are the comparative approaches to reducing and managing food waste in the devolved nations, and across Europe?
On launching its inquiry, Chair of the EFRA committee, Neil Parish (also the Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton) said: “Despite the progress made reducing food waste along the supply chain, the amount of reusable, recyclable food that we throw away in the UK is still staggeringly high. Of the estimated 7 million tonnes we discard from our homes each year, nearly half is edible. Not only does this have an impact on the family purse, but the environmental cost is equally heavy. We will be asking what more can be done to reduce food waste and this needless expense to our households.”
Written evidence should be submitted online via the food waste in England inquiry page by Tuesday 13 September 2016.