Wales announces plans to halve food waste by 2025


Food waste in Wales could be halved by 2025 after the Welsh Government announced ambitious plans to address the major waste issue during talks with Scotland on the circular economy.


Welsh Cabinet Secretary for the Environment Lesley Griffiths today announced plans for a consultation on a non-statutory target for food waste today, aiming to half levels recorded in 2006/07 by 2025.


The country has already made significant progress in this area, with recent WRAP figures showing a reduction of household food waste in Wales of 12 per cent between 2009 and 2015.

Wales has pulled ahead from the rest of the UK when it comes to recycling, reportedly passing a recycling rate of 63 per cent in December 2016. A report published by Eunomia Research & Consulting and Resource found that Wales’ 60 per cent recycling rate is the third highest in the world, surpassed only by Germany and Singapore.
Despite this, there is still a lot of room for improvement in the food waste stream: a WRAP Cymru report last year showed that almost half of the waste in Wales’s residual waste bins is made up of materials that are widely recycled in council collections, with around a quarter of this being food waste.
Griffiths made the announcement as she welcomed the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, to Wales. During the visit, both Secretaries intend to share views and information on how to improve waste and resource management.
Working together to reduce food waste

Griffiths said that she is keen to hear the Scottish Government’s experience of setting a food waste target and will discuss with Cunningham how Wales has achieved its success in municipal waste recycling.

Lesley Griffiths and Roseanna Cunningham


The Cabinet Secretaries will also discuss their commitment to developing a more circular economy, an approach where high-quality materials derived from waste products can be supplied back to manufacturers and productively used again and again.

Griffiths and Cunningham will visit Newport WasteSavers, a social enterprise that promotes the importance of reuse and recycling, and Public Health Wales’ new office in Cardiff, which has been refurbished with the use of repaired and recycling furniture and tiles. PHW’s refit recently won the organisation an international award for Environmental Best Practice.


Ahead of the visit, Griffiths said: “I am very much looking forward to welcoming my counterpart in the Scottish Government, Roseanna Cunningham, to Wales to compare our approaches to waste management.


“In Wales we are well on our way to achieving our ambitious target to become a zero waste nation by 2050. Recycling is at an all time record high and our 60% recycling rate is bettered by just two other countries in the world. We are keen to build on this success and one area where we believe improvements can be made is food waste.


“The consultation I intend to launch will examine the potential to halve food waste by 2025. It is an ambitious target but I know, from our recycling performance in recent years, when we work closely with local authorities and householders we can achieve results that make the world stand up and take notice.”


Cunningham added: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s steps to tackle food waste which will help save households money, reduce emissions and contribute to the circular economy.”


Referring to Scotland’s own food waste target, established early in 2016, she continued: “In Scotland we are committed to reducing food waste by 33 per cent by 2025 which could lead to significant savings for everyone – avoidable food waste costs Scotland £1 billion per year or £460 per household.

“Through our Love Food Hate Waste campaign to encourage people to reduce waste in their homes, the roll out of a doggy bag scheme in restaurants and the introduction of legislation which requires local authorities to provide food waste recycling points, we are working with households, retailers and the industry to help reach our target.”


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