Positive start for food waste bill

A recent bill proposed in the House of Commons marks a significant step forward in reducing the huge amount of food wasted in the UK. However, more still needs to be done to improve recycling rates throughout the supply chain, says Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood.

Kerry McCarthy MP last month introduced a food waste bill, which could see around 400,000 tonnes of food fit for human consumption redistributed to those living in food poverty. Under the proposed bill, large supermarkets and manufacturers have to reduce food waste by 30% by 2025 and officially report all details of food waste throughout their supply chains, as well as donate unsold foods.

Simpson believes the bill could be an instrumental step forward for reducing food waste in the UK but thinks recycling must also play a key role.

“We fully support Kerry McCarthy’s food waste bill and think its introduction an excellent proposition – not only minimising the shocking wastage of food in the UK but also to reduce the volume of such a valuable resource still being sent to landfill. We have been campaigning for many years for the government to tackle the growing food waste crisis, so it is hugely positive to see a proposal for clear and decisive action at a parliamentary level,” he says.

“Reducing the amount of food we waste in the UK and redistributing surplus food is very important but it is just one part of the problem. There needs to be a joined up approach so that as well as reducing what food waste we can, we also recycle what is left. Inevitably there will be some food that ends up in the bin, such as plate scrapings and vegetable peelings, however this can be effectively recycled and turned into renewable energy – something, as a nation, the UK has definitive need for.

“We have been campaigning for several years now for a governmental-level ban on sending food waste to landfill, as England is the only country in the UK that fails to do so. At the moment, food waste recycling decisions are left up to each individual business, but we need regulation to make sure this waste is recycled and reused wherever possible.

“If we were to achieve zero food waste to landfill nationwide, by 2020 we could generate over 1.1tW of energy, 27 million fewer tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, return over 1.3 million tonnes of nutrient rich fertiliser to farmland and save the public sector over £3.7 billion – a huge economic benefit which is currently being overlooked.”

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