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Food Waste Costs £12.5 billion a Year

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Food Waste Costs £12.5 billion a Year

Food Waste Costs £12.5 billion a Year
November 07
16:40 2013

The average UK household throws away the equivalent of six meals every week, costing the nation £12.5 billion a year, or almost £60 a month to the average family, despite a significant drive to reduce food waste a new report reveals.

The ground-breaking report intoUKfood waste by WRAP, also reveals that since 2007 we have cut avoidable household food waste by an impressive 21%, which saved cash strapped consumers almost £13 billion. Yet we still throw away a staggering 4.2 million tonnes (Mt) of household food, which could have been eaten. Almost half of this food goes straight from our fridges or cupboards to the bin and doesn’t even make it onto our dinner plates.

WRAP has also carried out work which shows it could be possible to reduce avoidable household food waste by a further 1.7 million tonnes a year by 2025. Given the financial and environmental benefits of such a reduction to theUK, WRAP’s chief executive, Dr Liz Goodwin is calling for a “major combined effort” with retailers, brands, governments and consumers to work together towards a common goal. This could result in the UK halving avoidable food waste by 2025 compared to when we started work on this in 2007, thereby saving consumers and Local Authorities billions of pounds.

The top three foods that Britons are throwing away uneaten include every day essentials: bread, potatoes and milk. The equivalent of a staggering 24 million slices of bread, 5.8 million potatoes and 5.9 million glasses of milk are wasted daily. Chicken also made the top ten with the equivalent of 86 million chickens thrown away each year, despite being the nation’s favourite meat. Sweet treats like cake make the list too.

Buying more than we need, lack of clarity around storage and labelling and over-estimating portions are just some of the reasons for the waste, reveals WRAP’s pioneering report into the actual waste we generate – Household Food and Drink Waste in the  UK  2012 .

The report updates WRAP’s 2007 ground-breaking report, The Food We Waste, which exposed the full scale of the food waste problem for the first time. Detailing what foods are wasted most, how much food is wasted in UK homes, why and how we waste it and how much that waste costs.

But it’s not all doom and gloom; the UK has made great progress. The total amount of household food and drink waste has reduced by 1.3Mt to 7Mt since 2007 and avoidable food and drink waste has reduced by 1.1Mt from 5.3Mt to 4.2Mt. However, the rate of reduction has slowed in recent years. The 21% reduction in avoidable food waste is down to millions of consumers doing things differently in the home such as buying the right amounts, storing and freezing foods to keep them fresher for longer and making more use of leftovers.

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