Scotland Announces Food Waste Reduction Target

Richard Lochhead 002Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, announced today (7 October) that avoidable food waste across Scotland has reduced by almost 8% since 2009 – with households saving around £92m a year by avoiding unnecessary purchases. 

Speaking at this morning’s Scottish Resources Conference in Glasgow, Lochhead said this was a positive step forwards in getting more food out of the waste stream.

The Cabinet Secretary also announced his intention to introduce a formal food waste reduction target for Scotland.

He said: “Household food waste in Scotland has decreased by an estimated 37,000 tonnes per year – 5.7% overall – since 2009, with a reduction of 7.7% overall, or 30,000 tonnes per year, in avoidable food waste. This reduction has saved households across Scotland a staggering £92m a year.

“Working together is imperative to the success of this, and we must continue to do so. I will fully consult with all stakeholders to set the right target to support both Scotland’s food and drink, and our zero waste, ambitions”

“That’s a great start but I want to see more done. Globally we throw away 2bn tonnes of food every year – which is shocking when 840m people across the world are going hungry. I want Scotland to lead by example.

I intend to introduce a food waste target that I believe will be the first such target in Europe. It will place Scotland at the forefront of tackling global food waste, together with the United States, which recently announced a target to reduce food waste by 50 per cent by 2030.

“Working together is imperative to the success of this, and we must continue to do so. I will fully consult with all stakeholders to set the right target to support both Scotland’s food and drink, and our zero waste, ambitions.

Zero Waste Scotland

Iain Gulland, chief executive, Zero Waste Scotland said: “Today’s news of such a substantial reduction in avoidable food waste is testament to a terrific effort by people in Scotland to cut waste – shopping smarter, planning meals better and enjoying the resulting benefit to their wallets.

“The Love Food Hate Waste campaign, delivered by Zero Waste Scotland, offers a range of shopping advice and recipes to help people cut food waste even further and make the most of leftovers. We’ll be continuing to promote these messages across Scotland.

“As well as saving money, tackling food waste is extremely important for both the environment and wider society – in Scotland and around the globe. More attention is now being paid to preventing it worldwide, so Zero Waste Scotland is very happy to support the Cabinet Secretary’s call for a formal food waste target for Scotland. A target will help us all concentrate on the task of eradicating avoidable food waste as well as demonstrate leadership and commitment the rest of the world might follow.”

Currently, 2bn tonnes of food waste is generated globally every year, with Scotland contributing around 1.4m tonnes to that figure, and 600,000 tonnes of that comes from our households. Sixty percent of that household food waste is avoidable – for example unused leftover food, food that has gone off and been thrown away.

The current reduction in avoidable food waste saves approximately 140,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions globally, each year.

The Cabinet Secretary will set out further details of his food waste target in his circular economy strategy, which will be published later this year.


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