The research, by food waste recycler ReFood and entrepreneurial charity BioRegional, calls on firms to recognise the value of food waste which can be turned into energy, provide nutrients for agriculture and generate heat and sets out measures to help companies and householders achieve a zero waste to landfill target by 2020.
According to the ‘Vision 2020: UK Roadmap to Zero Food Waste to Landfill’ report the reduction of food waste by households, businesses and the public sector would save the UK economy more than £17bn a year by 2020 and prevent 27m tonnes of greenhouse gas a year from entering the atmosphere.
Over 1.3m tonnes a year of valuable nutrients would be returned to the soil, while enough electricity to power over 600,000 homes would be generated, the report claimed.
Recommendations include a clear timetable for the phased introduction of a ban on food waste to landfill to come into effect by 2020, compulsory separate collections of food waste from homes and businesses, which can then be reused in the form of energy and for agricultural purposes and greater collaboration at every stage of the supply chain to accelerate the adoption of best practice.
The report also calls for the integration of food waste education into school, college and professional training programmes and increased support for WRAP’s ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ initiative.
“Our message is clear; food waste is a valuable resource that should never end up in landfill sites,” Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood, said. “Everyone from the food producer, through to the retailer, the restaurant and the householder can play their part in ensuring that we take full advantage of its considerable potential by ensuring we re-use, recycle and recover every nutrient and kilowatt of energy it has to offer."
Sue Riddlestone, OBE, chief executive and co-founder of BioRegional added: “The case for change is compelling. We will save billions of pounds. We will prevent millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases from entering our atmosphere. And crucially, we will ensure that food is treated as a precious resource.”
The Pig Idea Feast
The national initiative comes as Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Thomasina Miers prepare to cook up a free lunch for The Pig Idea Feast, an event being held in Trafalgar Square, London on 21 November in aid of a separate campaign to get food waste back on the menu for pigs in the UK.
The chefs are calling for change in European law to allow surplus food waste from restaurants, supermarkets and other food businesses to be fed to pigs - a practice that has been outlawed since 2002.