Zero Waste Scotland has published the baseline data for the country’s food waste reduction target up to 2025 – with a likely goal of 445,000 tonnes to be met.
This is based on an 1.35 million tonnes of food and drink waste produced in Scotland in 2013, according to the data released in a report this week (24 November).
The figure, which covers all quantifiable food and drink waste in Scotland, is to be used as the baseline for the Scottish Government’s target to reduce food waste by 33% by 2025.
The data was the headline finding in a report, ‘How much food and drink waste is there in Scotland?’ expanding on existing work to quantify food waste from households in order to make an estimate for all sectors of the economy for the first time.
Out of the projected 1.35 million tonnes, households accounted for 44%, producing 600,000 tonnes of food waste in 2013, followed by food and drink manufacturing, which produced 510,000 tonnes (38%).
In total, commercial and industrial solid food waste (including food and drink manufacturing) accounted for 55% of all food waste – 740,000 tonnes. Zero Waste Scotland said this figure “highlights the need to work with business to reduce food waste from farm to fork.”
In total, food and drink production accounts for around 20% of Scotland’s carbon footprint when taking into account everything that is consumed, not just emissions that occur within Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland has said.
However, the organisation also published an update on existing work to reduce household food waste, which suggests that there has been a reduction (5.7%) in household food waste between 2009 and 2014, resulting in savings to household budgets of £92 million.
Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “The amount of food wasted in Scotland is staggering, which is why the Scottish Government has set a target to reduce food waste by 33% by 2025, one of the most ambitious targets of its kind.
“This research from Zero Waste Scotland, together with the work that we are doing to measure food that doesn’t make it off the farm, will set the baseline against which we will measure our target. We will now collaborate with organisations from all sections of the supply chain to develop options for policy interventions to meet our target.”
Iain Gulland, chief executive at Zero Waste Scotland said: “When we talk about the true scale of food waste in Scotland we need to look at the whole supply chain. Whilst household food waste remains the biggest sector, the fact that over half comes from business and public sector shows that we need clear leadership in these areas to make the transformative change we all want to see.
He added: “We have made a good start. Since putting the issue of food waste on the map we have worked to reduce household food waste, resulting in a 6% decrease. We’re also providing small and medium sized businesses with dedicated advice and support to reduce their food waste and related costs.
“We look forward to working further with the Scottish Government and partners to develop additional priorities for action that will continue to influence behaviour, so that wasting food, at any level, is socially unacceptable.”
Much of the data in the report predates the application of the Waste (Scotland) Regulations – which came into effect in 2014, and brought into law requirements for businesses producing food waste to present it separately for collection. This law was tightened in January to incorporate any business producing 5kg of food waste per week or more (see letsrecycle.com story).
The regulations have heralded a boost in the amount of food waste treated at Scottish anaerobic digestion plants, according to Zero Waste Scotland and AD operators.