The minister announced the proposal at the Scottish Resources Conference in Glasgow this morning, where he also claimed that the total amount of household food waste produced by householders had reduced by around 8% since 2009.
The Scottish Government has already put in place a number of measures aimed at reducing the amount of food waste produced across the country, with the Waste (Scotland) Regulations requiring businesses producing more than 50kg of food waste per week to present the material separately for collection since the beginning of 2014.
This is to be extended to any businesses producing more than 5kg of food waste from January, while biodegradable municipal waste will be banned from landfill from 2020.
Few details of the new target have been made available by the Scottish Government, but more clarity is set to be outlined in Scotland’s circular economy strategy which will be published later this year.
Commenting, Mr Lochhead 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 £92 million a year.
“That’s a great start but I want to see more done. Globally we throw away two billion tonnes of food every year – which is shocking when 840 million 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% 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.”
Iain Gulland, director at Zero Waste Scotland, added: “More attention is now being paid to preventing it [food waste] 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.”