UK retailers reduce waste by 50 percent

It’s always nice to report good news on the waste front, particularly when our world seems to be drowning in it.

According to a recent report from the British Retail Consortium, retailers in the nation have achieved a reduction of 1.2 million tonnes in relation to food and packaging waste over the last five years.

Under a voluntary agreement adopted between the UK grocery sector and the Government’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP); 670,000 tonnes of food waste and 550,000 tonnes of packaging have been avoided since 2005 – even with a 6.4 percent increase in the volume of groceries sold. While so often environmental targets and goals aren’t met, in this case they were – and exceeded.

The packaging reductions have been achieved through innovations in protecting and preserving products with less material.

It’s great to see less plastic and other packaging waste heading to landfills, but the massive cut in food waste is very admirable too. British Retail Consortium says storage advice, recipes and more choice of portion sizes have all helped all contributing to the savings.

The next phase of the agreement will focus on the carbon impact of packaging followed by measuring and reducing the entire carbon impact of products throughout their lifecycle – from production to consumption.

Most of us are aware of the incredible amount of waste generated by packaging – but food waste is just as big an issue. Aside from the inequity where so many people in our world are starving, food waste is responsible for more carbon emissions than packaging it seems. According to some fairly recent statistics, 40 percent of all the food produced in the US is thrown out.

So that’s another area where we can all strike a positive blow for the environment. Pick up some tips for reducing food waste.