Food waste

Thank you for contacting me about food waste.

4.5 million tonnes of edible food are wasted in UK households annually, which is enough to fill 3,600 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Around a quarter of this food waste occurs because too much food has been prepared, cooked or served. As well as being worth £3.5 billion a year, it is also a waste of environmental resources used to produce it.

I am aware that EDM 1611 was tabled in a previous parliamentary session and is now unavailable for signature. However, I will continue to follow this issue closely.

The Government is investing £2.6 million to combat food waste and supports the Courtauld 2030 Commitment, which works for a more sustainable supply chain tackling food waste, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water use. Commitments also include a target to halve food waste by 2030. In addition, Ministers support consumer campaigns, including Love Food Hate Waste, which helps citizens reduce food waste and make the connection with climate change. 

I am aware that weekly collections of food waste will be introduced for most households across England by 2026, ending the threat of waste waiting weeks for collection and cutting food waste heading to landfill. This will also stop a trend towards three- or four-weekly bin collections seen in some areas of the UK.

Further, the food and drink waste hierarchy sets out a prioritised list of options to reduce waste, from preventing surplus and waste arising to redistributing to charities and commercial redistributors. Businesses are supported through the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap which sets out a plan to reduce food waste and increase redistribution through a Target, Measure and Act approach. 

Following the recent consultation on surplus food waste reporting by large food businesses in England, the Government will enhance the number of food businesses reporting through a voluntary approach, which will help to minimise regulatory burdens on businesses. Finally, nearly £13 million has been awarded to over 250 redistribution organisations across the country since 2018 for the provision of warehousing, vehicles, fridges and freezers. These projects will continue to reduce food waste and deliver safe discounted food.