The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the government-funded body that could face the axe as part of the coalition government's swingeing public sector cuts, will carry on trying to convince ministers of its value for money and reason to exist, according to one of its directors.
As far as WRAP's future was concerned, Dr Richard Swannell, director of design and resource minimisation, said: "We have to continue as best we can and let the results speak for themselves, delivering benefits for the tax payer."
However, questions remain over WRAP's future following a £5M cut in funding that was announced by the previous Labour government in April. Under that restructuring plan WRAP subsumed other environmental organisations within its control including Envirowise, the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP), Action for Sustainability and the Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW) programme.
WRAP was originally set up in 2000 to develop markets for materials that would otherwise have become waste. Each year the UK produces 16Mt of food and drink waste: 8.3Mt from households (of which 5.3Mt could have been consumed); 3.6Mt from retail and the supply chain; and 45Mt from other sources, such as agriculture, hospitality and schools.
"Reducing food waste is a key issue for us as a society," said Swannell. "1Mt [cuts in waste produced by households] could be delivered in the next five years or so if we continue the pressure."