The survey, published today (February 27) by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) indicates just 3% of the industry’s waste went to landfill in 2012.
That compares with 9% in 2009, the last time the survey was conducted, and equates to a drop of 250,000t.
The result is a significant milestone on the journey towards one of the FDF’s core aims of its Five-fold Environmental Ambition: to achieve zero waste to landfill in the sector by 2015. The trade group claimed the vast majority of its members had already achieved that target.
The FDF claimed progress was made by redistributing waste to other areas, particularly animal feed. More than a quarter (28%) of waste was managed through recycling in 2012, increasing to 96% for used packaging.
A report based on the survey charts steady progress in processors’ food waste reduction efforts since 2006, when 16.5% of food and packaging waste was sent to landfill. This fell to 12.5% in 2008 and to 9% in 2009.
“Tackling food waste is a key priority for our industry, both to make what we have go further but to also help conserve the natural resources on which future production depends,” said FDF director of sustainability Andrew Kuyk.
Andy Dawe, head of food and drink at WRAP, said he was “delighted” by the results. “With waste to landfill now so low, businesses should grasp the opportunity to focus on the greater financial savings achievable through focusing on waste prevention,” he added.
“WRAP is happy to support businesses, and the supply chain as a whole, to identify where waste is arising and enable them to find the solutions to prevent such waste, making large financial and environmental savings.”
- As part of the Love Food Hate Waste initiative, WRAP plans to roll out a waste crackdown to 10 cities across the UK after a successful West London initiative. It is canvassing the support of retailers and food and drink brands now, delegates at the Fresher for Longer conference in London heard earlier this month.