Food waste is a global problem. An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year. This is around one third of all that is produced for human consumption, and it is generating about 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Scotland contributes to this problem. In 2014, Scottish households threw away around 600,000 tonnes of food and drink waste. This meant that, as a nation, Scotland also wasted the resources that went into producing, transporting and buying that food. When food waste ends up in landfill, it produces methane gas that is many times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide. It also means that we are losing a potentially valuable resource that could be redistributed to humans, recycled as animal feeds, or even converted to fuel and energy.
Scotland is addressing its food waste problem with this ambitious action plan designed to: reduce unnecessary demand for food; improve how Scotland can produce, store and cook food so that people waste less; increase food recycling rates and; make better use of food waste as an organic resource. By tackling issues at every level in the food waste hierarchy, Scotland plans to meet its ambitious target to reduce its food waste by one third by 2025. This means that the country must prevent around 297,000 tonnes of food waste each year.
Scotland will make this change possible and reach the country's 33% reduction target by working across four vital and interconnected areas:
- Improved monitoring and infrastructure
- Sector leadership
- Public engagement and communications
- Supporting delivery of a new approach to food waste