Food Waste - December 2021

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for contacting me about food waste.

I am glad that ministers are supporting the Courtauld 2025 Commitment, delivered by Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which aims to reduce UK food waste by 20 per cent per capita by 2025, based on a 2015 baseline. Action is primarily through the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap and the Target, Measure, Act approach where businesses set a reduction target, measure food waste and act to reduce it. The Government will also consult on introducing regulations to make the transparent reporting of food waste volumes mandatory for businesses of an appropriate size.

At the household level, ministers are supporting campaigns such as Love Food, Hate Waste and Wasting Food: It’s Out of Date as well as the UK’s first Food Waste Action Week which was held in March 2021. My ministerial colleagues and I support the WRAP and its work with retailers and food businesses who can influence household food waste through interventions such as pack sizing and labelling.

Finally, I am pleased that since 2018, over £11 million has been awarded to help redistribute more surplus food to those who need it. Hundreds of projects have been supported in providing infrastructure such as vehicles, freezers and fridges. Over 92,000 tonnes of surplus food was redistributed in 2020, the equivalent of 220 million meals. It is encouraging that since 2015, levels of redistribution have increased three-fold, significantly reducing food waste. Through WRAP, ministers work closely with the redistribution sector and across the food chain to tackle barriers to increasing redistribution including through the provision of tools and guidance.

I understand that in the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, there is a model for how farmers can be supported to measure on-farm food surplus and waste and take action to reduce it. Further, I am encouraged that since 2017, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has provided around £12 million of grants to increase the diversion of surplus food for human consumption from waste destinations. I welcome that some of these grants have been used to collect surplus food from farms.

It is welcome that the Government has set out plans to make recycling easier, with a clear list of materials that all local authorities and waste firms will have to collect from homes and businesses. This will end confusion for millions of homes and businesses having different collections in different areas, encouraging households to recycle more. Further, ministers are working to ensure that every household will receive separate, weekly food waste collections from 2023, putting a halt to the build-up of smelly waste that attracts flies and pests.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Sincerely,

Richard Fuller