MAY 15, 2008; New research shows the cost of needlessly wasted foodto UK households is £10 billion a year, £2 billion higher thanpreviously estimated.
Speaking at an event to launch the report, by WRAP, Environment Minister, Joan Ruddock said: “These findings are staggering in their own right, but at a time when global food shortages are in the headlines this kind of wastefulness becomes even more shocking.“This is costing consumers three times over. Not only do they pay hard-earned money for food they don’t eat, there is also the cost of dealing with the waste this creates. And there are climate change costs to all of us of growing, processing, packaging, transporting, and refrigerating food that only ends up in the bin.“Waste reduction is a key priority for the Government, giving us our greatest environmental and economic gains. If we are to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle, we need to encourage behaviour change to reduce the waste we generate. So we cannot ignore the implications of the 6.7 million tonnes of food which this report indicates are wasted unnecessarily every year.”The research gives detailed new insights into the nature and amount of food waste thrown away in the UK and is believed to be the most comprehensive study of its kind ever carried out.It reveals that the average household throws out £420 of good food a year, while for the average family with children it’s higher at £610.Researchers found that more than half the good food thrown out, worth £6 billion a year, is bought and simply left unused or untouched. For example, each day 1.3 million unopened yoghurt pots, 5,500 whole chickens and 440,000 ready meals are thrown away in the UK. The study revealed that £1 billion worth of wasted food is still “in date”. It costs local authorities £1 billion a year to dispose of food waste. Stopping the waste of good food could avoid 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents from being emitted each year – the same as taking 1 in 5 cars off of UK roads.