Optimising packaging and preventing food waste, using our resources more efficiently and diverting waste from landfill are all key to reducing its impact on the environment and can save money.
The statistics are striking:
In the UK we waste about £17 billion/18.4 million tonnes per year of food and drink. This comprises: supply chain (£5 billion/6.5 mt) and household (£12 billion/8.3 mt*) (*excludes packaging).
An average UK household with children spends £680 (£50 a month) on food that could have been eaten but is thrown away.
About 10.5 million tonnes of packaging is used in the UK per annum, of which 4.9 million tonnes is household related. The grocery sector accounts for about 70% of the packaging market.
Supporting the retail supply chain
Companies always try to be as efficient as possible but there is much more that can be done by working collaboratively to deliver the greatest cost, waste and CO2 emission savings.
WRAP helps the retail supply chain to deliver less packaging and food, drink and non-food product waste through:
an industry-wide responsibility deal called the Courtauld Commitment 2, where signatories work towards agreed targets by making efficiencies within their own company and supply chains;
working with partner organisations such as the Food and Drink Federation, British Retail Consortium and IGD; and
WRAP co-ordinated research projects and trials, industry working group dissemination, workshops and consumer focussed initiatives.
Helping the consumer
Consumers want value for money and the grocery sector can help to provide this by making efficiencies in the way they operate and, where appropriate, savings can be passed on through the supply chain and to the customer.
Food waste prevention is a priority for WRAP. The highly successful Love Food Hate Waste consumer facing programme encourages behavioural change. Industry partners are helping to support this by making changes to the retail environment that will help everyone waste less.
Retailers, brands and manufacturers are also doing much to optimise packaging and to help explain to consumers abouts its crucial role in protecting products and prolonging the shelf life of food. Increasingly, we are seeing more recycled content and designing for recyclability in packaging and the grocery sector can help consumers recycle more by joining the On-pack recycling labelling scheme and supporting the Recycle Now Partners campaign.