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EU food waste action needed

Published: 11 Sep 2015 10:27

Environment Secretary says ‘vast amount of food waste is ‘jaw-dropping’.

Action to reduce Europe's 'vast amount of food waste', the equivalent of more than twice the weight of the entire adult population of Europe, has been urged by Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead.

An estimated 89 million tonnes of food is binned every year across EU member states with the largest share of food waste produced by households.

Mr Lochhead made the call as he attended the prestigious international Milan Expo which is themed 'Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life'.

He said:

"The size of Europe's food waste problem is absolutely jaw-dropping and the fact that it is equivalent to more than twice the weight of the entire adult population of the continent highlights the scale of the challenge for us all. Such wastefulness is bad for the environment, bad for our finances and should make us all pause for thought.

"Scotland is already taking steps to reduce the amount of food we throw away, including encouraging individuals, households and communities to cut food waste and the £1 billion annual cost to Scottish consumers.

"So I urge the EU to lead by example and co-ordinate action at European level. A good start would be to consider the role of food waste reduction targets in its forthcoming circular economy package."

Notes to editors

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead is at the Expo on September 10 and 11, 2015 where he is undertaking a series of engagements and meetings to promote Scotland and Scottish food and drink.

Zero Waste Scotland is hosting an event on 11th September at the Expo Conference Centre, Milan, called The circular economy: delivering sustainability for the food and drink industry. The event will showcase examples of cutting-edge innovation and sustainable practice in Scotland's food and drinks sector, including its iconic Scotch whisky industry. It will also explore opportunities for collaboration between Scotland and Italy on this exciting agenda.

Zero Waste Scotland delivers the Love Food Hate Waste campaign in Scotland which aims to reduce this waste by raising awareness of the environmental and economic impact of food waste. To help householders, the campaign provides practical advice to reduce food waste and save money, focusing on the most commonly wasted food groups including; bakery, dairy, fresh fruit, meat and fish, and fresh vegetables and salad.