Plan to tackle 'throwaway' food waste

The Welsh Assembly Government has a target of 70% recycled waste by 2025

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Householders are to be encouraged to throw away less waste food in a bid to save both money and the environment.

The assembly government says a typical Welsh family wastes around £50 a month buying food that ends up in the bin.

It is part of a new waste strategy to end a "throwaway society" and help reach a new target to recycle 70% of waste in Wales by 2025.

The proposals include rewarding those who recycle.

Environment Minister Jane Davidson also set out what householders, businesses and local authorities will need to do for Wales to become a "zero waste nation" by 2050.

Case study - Linda Ware, Neath

Linda Ware

"I lived for six months without doing any recycling or without producing any waste. I did not use a bin and I did not create any recycling and it was an absolutely fantastic journey.

"It took me back to my childhood because I was brought up in a village and we were self-sufficient.

"Whereas today everything seems to come from abroad, to come through supermarkets, the fields around me used to be full of cabbages, turnips, swede, potatoes - now it's nothing but cows and fallow. By not buying anything plastic I was able to live without creating any waste for the six months.

"I was having fantastic food but it actually meant I even had to make my own tomato sauce for my tea. Everything had to be prepared in advance but it's a wonderful thing to do.

"I had fought the LNG [fuel]pipeline in the village for five years. It brought to me a realisation that we were using energy at an uncontrolled rate without anyone turning around and saying, well do we really need to use all that energy? And I really don't think we do.

"Plastic takes oil [to make] so plastic is one of my pet hates."

She said she hoped to highlight the fact that waste does not only damage the environment, it can also be bad for people's finances.

"We must change our attitude towards waste because we cannot continue as a "throwaway" society sending our rubbish to landfill," she said.

"Reducing the amount of waste we produce is at the heart of this new strategy. My vision is to see all of us spending less of our hard earned money on unwanted food and goods and as a result producing less waste.

'Make changes'

"Reducing the amount of waste we produce will then result in having to spend less money on waste management."

Around 90% of everything people buy has become waste within six months, according to the assembly government.

It said that by managing waste "sustainably" and making sure that people recycle at least 70% of their waste by 2025, Wales' ecological footprint - the size of our impact on the planet - will be reduced by 27%.

It said Wales is currently the only country in the UK where every local council offers a separate food or food/green waste collection.

Cilfrew Craft Club have been hailed as green champions for making bags and clothes from recycled material

It wants to extend this to every home in Wales and has committed £34m between 2009 and 2011 to help achieve this.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "We must all make changes. Adopting a more sustainable approach to how we deal with our waste will bring new investment and sustainable jobs to Wales."

The assembly government says Wales is the only country in the UK to introduce legislation on statutory recycling and composting targets for local authorities.

Earlier this month, Ms Davidson announced that a 7p charge for a plastic carrier bag is to be introduced in stores in Wales, probably from spring 2011.

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